“Winter is knocking on the dunnage door. The nights are drawing in and there is a chill in the air. What better excuse to settle down with a warming dram?” [MnC]
Mannochmore 2004/2016 12yo SMWS 64.87 ‘Rays of Sunshine’ [222 bts] 59.2% WB76.50
It seemed strange to start with a high strength Mannochmore when there was an Auchentoshan, for example, in the line up. As we went along however, the logic behind that decision became evident.
- N: Like a powerful astringent modern Deanston if you will, being a fruity, yeasty, malty nose with banana candy and dry pineapple.
- T: Malty again, as expected, and with dry cream. Quickly turns bitter and stays that way for some time before finally mellowing.
- F: Cornflake vanilla tannins, though it’s still a touch spirity with pineapple cubes most prominent.
- C: Though we all struggled with this, I came round to it more & [Mannoch]more. A solid sighter.
Scores 84 points
- N: Pink Zinfandel and confectionary candy with tight soft tannins. Bready shortbread over time.
- T: Fairly resinous before the barley comes through. I find this batch a bit strange and ambivalent after the Mannochmore.
- F: A slightly congealed finish.
- C: What’s sure is many new distilleries like Cotswold are producing really fine 3yo whisky. The discussion about where whisky designed to peak early can go in the future, however, is raised once again.
Scores 81 points
Situated within the heart of the vast Midleton Distillery, Method & Madness is a micro operation, set up for experimental purposes. Chestnut is very porous which means casks are more prone to leaking than oak. I recall Tony Reeman-Clark from Strathearn distillery [blog],
telling me that chestnut wood had to be handled with great care, as it can easily dominate.
- N: Silicone pouches, emulsion, croissants, apricot cream, petrichor [Steve & Adam], and something ‘off’, like an oil-based food product that’s started separating.
- T: Varnish, a drop of turpentine, a butyric hint, citrus and vanilla. This one grows on me as it did when I enjoyed a bottle share of batch #1 last year [Blog85].
- F: Dryish ginger, shortbread and oaky vanilla.
- C: I find both Method & Madness presentations [batch 1 & 2], well balanced examples of [partial] chestnut maturation. One to have open on the shelf me thinks. Whether you like the distinctive flavour of chestnut wood is another matter. As The Foz wisely said “You don’t have to like it to enjoy it”.
Scores a solid 83 points
I hear this is a 16yo Glenfarclas, but realise this is old news.
- N: All the gooey cakes, thick pipped icing and coppery Manuka & creamy Bulgarian honey. Moderately sherried.
- T: Oh yes, the thick & resinous sherry maturation is evident straight off the bat, though this is no Black Betty.
- F: This is grape-y & cask-y, but good cask-y, with a finish on dark raisins and slightly congealed oils.
- C: Scores highly for its joyous drinkability, available at only £60 in 2017.
Scores 86 points
So why didn’t we start with this commonly recognised lighter-styled malt? There’s nothing like a favourable rousing finish, and given the strength, this can easily hold its own.
- N: In true Auchie style, we’ve rose water marmalade with bourbon-y vanilla [and only a little cardboard]. Furthermore, there’s dark roast coffee beans and husky cocoa – surely straight from the barley.
- T: A touch of marzipan, savoury French Fancies< custard creams and a floral sweetness. The oloroso influence comes much later.
- F: Sweet, butyric vanilla, cake icing decorations,…. but every sip brings new delights.
- C: This is a keeper. Oh I see I had this before. I preferred it even more today, though it’s one that stuck with me last time also.
Scores 87 points
[Willowbank] Milford 1993/2012 18yo Ob. The New Zealand Whisky Collection cask #21 [btl #03] 51.9% WB84.50
Established in 1974, the Willowbank Distillery [aka Wilson’s Dunedin Distillery], originally used stainless steel stills before new owners Seagrams replaced them with copper. It was the most southern whisky distillery in the world before being closed [by Fosters] in 1997. The New Zealand Whisky Company acquired the remaining stocks. I believe there are current plans to build another distillery in the South Island.
- N: A wide body on the nose that speaks of nutty>sulphury tones with smoked black cardamon pods and macadamia nuts – though the smokiness lifts off over time. The Foz observes its unique character, pointing out that this is clearly neither Scotch nor European in style.
- T: More of those distinct smoked black cardamon pods, again with the smoke lifting over time. Develops with a slightly metallic chew, consolidated though somewhat congested, with a nutty metal funkiness, the smoke returning.
- F: Smoke on the finish too, smoked barley>char it seems. Deep consolidated vanilla concludes.
- C: Great credit to Malt n Copper for sharing this rarity. I’ve never tasted anything quite like it, one that’s hard to pin down given it’s unfamiliarity. I had it up to 86, though more like 84 without emotion [closed distillery, 6th dram, with friends,…], so let’s say 85 overall.
Scores 85 points