Just like with the Northern Highlands and many other themes, we could have one of these each month for the next decade and never drink the same thing twice. What theme? Well, anything that has 'more', 'mor', or 'mhor' in the name, of course -- yes, 'mhor' has a different pronunciation, but who cares?
The suspects: idealrichard, md, Fixou, JS and myself.
Fixou arrives late, so it is a small challenge to build the line-up. Having said that, he was always going to bring the peat, so his contribution would likely come last anyway.
Dalmore 12yo Black Isle (40%, OB Travel Retail Exclusive, b. ca 2003) (provided by myself): an old acquaintance of yours truly, a novelty for the rest of the group. Nose: some sherry (no kidding!), nuts. Mouth: syrupy, oily, lovely. Finish: sweet and fruity. Better than ever, this one. Ideal to start with. 8/10
Glen Mhor 21yo 1976 (43%, TWS Glenkeir Treasures The Gold Selection, 299b) (provided by myself): JS and I tried this one a week earlier and liked it a lot. I even expect it to be the highlight of the day, though considering the low ABV and the subtlety of the W, I feel it necessary to have it early on. Nose: dried flowers, dried fruit (raisins?), a hint of nail polish, marzipan, a nuance of distant charcoal. Mouth: sweet and smooth, still as unbelievable as the first time -- is this really one of those overlooked distilleries? Finish: we are in Normandy and there are apples everywhere! Apple tart that is so dominant, I do not even bother looking for something else. 8/10
64.32 10yo 2001/2011 (59.1%, SMWS Society Cask, ex-Bourbon Barrel, 245b) (provided by JS): JS's contribution is the first SMWS bottling for md and idealrichard. It is also their first Mannochmore. Nose: not as nutty as in my memory and a lot grassier. Caramel, a touch of chocolate, wood. Mouth: vanilla, pine cones, mellowness. Finish: wood varnish, vanilla. A beautiful dram without a doubt. 8/10
Tobermory 15yo (46.3%, OB, b. ca 2008) (provided by myself): the best thing about bringing fresh blood to tastings is that one gets to try well-known bottlings from their collection under different circumstances and find something new in them. Nose: heavy sherry, tyre. Mouth: drying, rubbery. Finish: a tad fruity. Fixou describes it as an entry-level, low-quality dessert that we like all the same. 7/10
Ledaig 10yo (46.3%, OB, b. ca 2012) (provided by Fixou): Fixou's bottle and there is a difference: peat. Nose: medicinal, hospital. md insists it does not smell like the detergent they use in hospitals, but really like hospitals themselves. A mixture of medicine, sweat, detergent, old bandages, various body fluids, decrepit building materials (he did not say all that, I am translating for him). md meets peat. Mouth: a few nuts. Finish: peat, though it is not overpowering. The first sip puts most off, in fact. After two or three, all agree it grows on them and they find it more and more rewarding. It is not a great whisky, but it is drinkable.
Tobermory 15 + Ledaig 10 (46.3%): let us blend our own single malt, then (what? you can blend single malt?) About two thirds Tob, one third Ledaig. Nose: dominated by peat. A drop would have been enough. It is a nice-ish mix of peat and sherry. The finish is quite longer and not bad at all. Sherry and peat are an odd couple, fighting more often than not. They work quite well, in this case.
Ledaig 4yo 2005/2010 (62.7%, BBr Berrys' Own Selection, Sherry Butt, C#900008) (provided by Fixou): Fixou's fabled Ledaig, at last. How does 'Ledaig' fit the theme anyway? It is produced at the Tobermory distillery, that is how. Nose: wide peat, a sweeping locomotive. Competing sherry and peat, after a while, then smoked turkey. This one needs to breathe a little. Mouth: quite an alcoholic attack (at 62.7%, md and idealrichard say it is the highest strength whisky they have had. Little girls, they are).Slightly drying (likely the sherry's rubber), desserty. Finish: long and drying, and also quite comforting, at this point. Not my favourite dram ever, yet I can see the interest. For such a young whisky, the quality level is unexpected to say the least. 7/10
Ledaig 10yo (46.3%, OB, b. ca 2012) (provided by Fixou): how does that one do, now? Nose: tamed, in comparison. Butter. Mouth: herbs, full-fat milk. Finish: slight peat, though hardly noticeable, now.
Ardmore 19yo 1992/2011 (49.3%, SD The Single Malts of Scotland, Bourbon Barrel, C#9464, 207b) (provided by idealrichard): funnily enough, both Fixou and idealrichard have bought a bottle for the occasion. Nose: a whole lot fruitier than expected! Instead of the anticipated peat, we get some banana. Mouth: strawberries and cherries, smooth -- we cannot taste any peat at all, probably because our taste buds have soaked in Ledaig 5. Finish: whiff of smoke, then mango! Amazing stuff. So much so that we immediately call the store to reserve a few bottles. 9/10
Off-tasting, we then have:
Laphroaig PX (48%, OB Travel Retail Exclusive) (provided by idealrichard): idealrichard is quite excited to have found it in an airport two days after it was released and bought a bottle without trying it. We all assume this is to become the follow-up to the Triple Wood, itself heir of the beloved Quarter Cask. The mouth is sweet and fresh to a point we wonder if it is indeed a Laphroaig. Finish: fruitier than any Laphroaig I have ever tried, with juicy, dark cherries and elderberry. Sweet, with a bit of coffee, after a while. It is difficult to judge it so late in the line-up, naturally, but it sort of reminds me of 29.109, in a way.
Clynelish 1997/2011 (46%, BBr for Boisdale, Bourbon Cask, C#4704, 298b) (provided by md): we cannot let md go without tasting his bottle, that would be rude. He tried my Dalmore C#16638 a while ago, which sparked his interest in whisky. Upon buying a bottle with a similar label, he ended up with a Clynelish instead (the Dalmore is sold out), likes it, but less. Nose: pear and generally fruity. Certainly the best nose to come out of a Clynelish, in my opinion. Mouth: wet cat rather than dog(!) Finish: a touch of wax, yet the major part is fruit (cherry and strawberry, to be precise). By far the best Clynelish I have ever tasted -- but is it even a Clynelish? It certainly carries little of the house style. Funny how we tried two good Clynelish bottlings in as many tastings, this month. 8/10
A great tasting again, relaxed and easy-going. Glad the new group is taking shape. They were not the most prestigious 'Mor' drams, but who says one is supposed to eat lobster at every meal? Good fun, a few (very) good surprises and a nice atmosphere is all we need. I was obviously fruit sensitive, today, which is a bonus.
To accompany our ramblings, we heard:
Sons of Retrocity
Songs of Gods and Demons