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Mannochmore was built in 1971 by DCL (and so remains in the Diageo stable). Sharing their workforce and warehouses with Glenlossie next door, it's purpose was to supply malt to the Haig blend, then the top selling scotch in the UK. It closed down in 1985 due to the whisky loch, then started up again in 1989. Sadly, this distillery is mostly known for the disastrous Loch Dhu, a ghastly abomination of added caramel which has inexplicably become collectible.
This was distilled on Valentine's Day 1990, matured in a refill barrel for 22 years, yielding only 198 bottles.
The colour is a medium gold. Very subtle on the nose, yet enormously complex: light honey, freshly baked croissants, juicy malt, mint and rosemary. Very floral but never perfumy. Beware - water drowns the nose. Regardless, this is beautiful.
On the palate - wow. Buttery with light tobacco and white pepper. Mouth coating. Crisp malt, light citrus, honey and a touch of dark chocolate. The oak is there but never overwhelms. I kind of get the strawberries in the title but to me it is a minor note. Water ups the spice and heat. Stunning.
The finish is creamy and rich, with chewy oak, cereal and lemon pith. This is a near perfect bourbon cask Scotch single malt. The perfect mix of subtlety and complexity. I cannot fathom that this is the same distillery that produced Loch Dhu - unreal. Jim Murray scores this a 96 and I can see why - just wow.