Old Malt Cask Glen Mhor 1982 27 year old
It is great to see bottles for any closed distillery, or bottles of any value, being opened and appreciated by a larger audience. This is how we learn; appreciate the past and build our own experiences. When it comes to whisky, it's the only real way to learn. The big-name reviewers or published authors all have their own tasting profile. Some might dislike Glen Mhor and love Rosebank, or vice versa.
There are no guarantees in life or whisky. If you enjoy a particular dram, then fantastic. I don't care if it is from Glen Moray or Glen Mhor. Just that you've found that moment and liquid to enjoy. Sometimes I think we're losing sight of this in the current whisky environment where people want to be seen with certain bottles and names. They are not in the right mindset to sit down and truly appreciate something that is in front of them.
The Old Malt Cask is a very familiar bottling line if you've been interested in whisky for ages. For over 20 years it has been around with the distinctive green colour scheme and packaging. You see less of it nowadays - I don't know if they are focused on international markets now - but it was always a reliable staple. A good range of distilleries, a robust 50% strength and reasonable prices.
I'm always pleased to see such a bottle and it revives old memories; good memories. Some of my earliest single malts and forays into closed distilleries were because of this range. Sure, you had Gordon & MacPhail and Cadenhead's, but it was the Old Malt Cask range that seemed to be everywhere and in a variety of sizes. I vaguely remember a miniature bottling club and they relied heavily on the range to offer a wide assortment of whiskies to experience.
The days of the Old Malt Cask releasing any Glen Mhor have sadly come to an end. There does seem to be a parcel of casks that form the core of their inventory, that were bottled consistently over a decade ago. In total, Douglas Laing under this branding released 9 casks of Glen Mhor. Vintage wise, these spanned the 60s, 70s and 80s. The last trio of casks were all from 1982, which was the last full year of production at Glen Mhor. Today's review was distilled in August 1982, before being bottled in May 2010, at 27 years of age. 239 bottles were produced at 50% from a refill hogshead.
My thanks to The Whisky Barrista for the opportunity to add this Old Malt Cask Glen Mhor to our growing selection of reviews and the photographs. It looked like a great night and hopefully I can put on a similar event that focuses on just the one distillery in 2023.
1982 is the last full calendar year of production at Glen Mhor - it might not have been full-time as the distillery was working part-time hours from 1981 until its end. So, while Glen Mhor is increasingly rare, these final years are particularly thin on the ground. Thankfully, we have the opportunity to remember and celebrate.
In terms of production, other than merely treading water and waiting for the end. This whisky would have been made without the involvement of the Saladin Boxes that closed in 1980, with malt being delivered by central maltsters - the method most distilleries rely upon today. Meaning, this is as close to a modern whisky as you're going to get with Glen Mhor.
Let's dig in...
On the nose: oh, this is a surprisingly classy. There's a lovely ex-bourbon wood fruitiness coming through. Those harsh unforgiving Inverness characteristics are somewhat muted here. Yeah, there's some concrete floor sweepings, but it is the apples and pear drops that take the lead. A rather dulled vanilla vibe lingers throughout, grapefruit, mace. Sour cream? Just want to take my time and take in this one.
In the mouth: a lovely assortment of fruit, a fruit basket in fact. The presence of a flat beer and yeast reminds you that this is Glen Mhor. There's also a slight effervesce as well that continues the theme. Old dusty cardboard, dulled lemon, melon and some smokiness on the finish. Returning, there's much to saviour here, some cinnamon and then I let the moment get the better of me...
An excellent Glen Mhor, if you have a bottle then open it up, enjoy the fruits and realise what this distillery was capable of - albeit sometimes. That's the juxtaposition of Glen Mhor. The brutal and harsh Inverness character, that's somewhat missing here and we have a very enjoyable whisky.
It also underlines that although times were tough at the distillery in the early 80s, the team were producing quality. Did the Saladin Boxes contribute to the style of Glen Mhor that many don't enjoy? This later Glen Mhor is potentially a fortunate accident and a whisky you can relive and appreciate even after the glass is empty.
Check out our whisky section for more Glen Mhor reviews...