3 March 2014

02/03/2014 Mhor and Mhor and Mhor + a swan song

It is not a secret that I have a soft spot for closed distilleries. Amongst those, I feel the Invernessian tripplets are often the unloved children, which, funnily enough, makes them even more interesting to me.

Glen Mhor 21yo 1976 (43%, Glenkeir Treasures Gold Selection, 299b): had this one multiple times, including on the nearly synonymous More and Mór and Mhor tasting, and loved it each time. At 43% ABV, it is the perfect starter for tonight. I have always been curious to understand how a 21 year-old distilled in 1976 landed in the shops in 2012, by the way. Nose: ginger bread with orange zest. Cherry liqueur pralines, old leather, perhaps old books and some tame solvents. The orange scent becomes louder and louder, to the point it smells of a mix of rum and orange juice. Mouth: the bitterness of almond skins, then the sweetness of skinned almonds. Think Amaretto without sugar and a few additional horsepowers. Orange peels make a comeback too. Beautiful! Finish: very light coffee, with a spoonful of cocoa powder (or a melted, dark-chocolate Côte d'Or Mignonnette) with a sprinkle of fresh orange juice. Absolutely lovely. Very Mhorish (boom-tsch!) Why did I not buy 12 of these bottles? 8/10

Glen Mhor 30yo 1982/2012 (53.7%, SV Cask Strength Collection, Hogshead C#1606, 201b): tried this one at last year's Whisky Show and remember liking it quite a lot. Let us see if it fares well outside of that context. Nose: a different beast! A lot lighter (this is unlikely to be a sherry cask), perfume-y. Apple peels, old books, with faded, leather bindings, perhaps a very distant whiff of smoke. But yeah, the dominant notes are apple peels and perfume -- I think it is peach essence. After a minute, a hidden touch of cedar wood becomes apparent. All delicate and subtle. Mouth: apple Acid, light and pleasant, with the sharpness of citrus. The citrus morphs into orange peels, though it does remain discrete. Finish: wow! Orange rinds in milk chocolate. Any PiM's enthusiast will snigger at the thought (it must be dark chocolate!), yet this works quite well indeed. The second sip shows a newly found bitterness to match the acidity of the mouth. Orange-rind chocolate dipped in rum? Surprisingly fresh for its age, this is another splendid dram, and I wish I had Mhor of it. 8/10

Glen Mhor 28yo 1976/2005 (51.9%, OB Rare Malts Selection): nose: alcohol screams, here. Then it shuts up and smoke takes the lead -- oh! it is no Islay, mind! A second later, it is a deluge of orange marmalade, then smoke and cured meat settle for good -- no! It is now caramelised-orange clafoutis. This one keeps bouncing back and forth! There is also some dust, a shelfful of old paperbacks and liqueur pralines. Mouth: surprisingly smooth and gentler. As elegant as can be, with mild orange juice, in a room with a burning candle (not for the wax, for the wick). So subtle becomes the smoke. Soft as a plum. Finish: a different story again! Light, milky coffee with a drop of orange juice. Very, very, veeeeerrrry long, if more one-dimensional than the nose hinted at. It remains strong in alcohol, though. The second sip gives embers, as well as unripe greengages (acidic and bitter). Another terrific RMS! (thanks pat gva for the sample) 8/10

Let us have a bonus dram.

Craigduff 40yo 1973/2013 (49.6%, SV Cask Strength Collection, Refill Butt C#2516, 616b): this one needs to go to make some shelf room. Nose: this could just as well be a Croftengea, so straightforward it is (not meant in a bad way). Marinated and barbecued meat. The marinate is extremely well balanced, between the Provence herbs and warm olive oil. A delight, this is. Herbs end up taking over for a grassy, almost metallic moment, then meat is back. It might even be venison. Or is it Chinese, salt-and-pepper chicken after all? Water turns it into a basket of black fruit. Mouth: incredibly controlled. Nothing overpowers the rest; it is a perfect symbiosis (I can hear the Frogs calling this watery). Milky texture, very, very tender meat -- if it is indeed chicken, it was precooked: it comes off the bone in a melting fashion. There is also, however, chocolate milk, with an added touch of almond bitterness. Finish: barbecue, still, but under control again. So much so, in fact, that it only lasts for two seconds, then it is chocolate milk all the way. Wunderbar! And close to never-ending, to boot. Excellent dram! 8/10

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