Gordon & MacPhail Glen Mhor 1978 65.3%
Bring out the big guns... That’s the only agenda when you sit down with a cask strength offering from Glen Mhor.
The majority of releases from this distillery have been reduced to a certain level, while they still remain approachable – and at times – worthwhile, there’s still something special and indicative of the terrain when you have a full-on expression that’s still in its natural state.
My thanks to Roy for picking up a sample of this Glen Mhor from the Limburg Whisky Festival, which believe comes from the stall of Michiel Wigman; a true gent in whisky. These whisky events are wonderful opportunities to try rarely seen whiskies or those that are blasting into a new frontier of pricing that is often out of your reach. These are the times that we now live in, so these events are more important than ever before. Sadly, I won’t be making the Whiskybase Gathering this year (2022), but that’s another story – I’ll be there in 2023 hopefully with a bottle of Glen Mhor in tow.
Gordon & MacPhail released a handful of these cask strength editions for Glen Mhor which were often comprised of cask vattings. This one with an outturn of 300 bottles is likely to be a single cask example. In total, there are 4 bottles from the 1978 vintage to track down from this bottler. What’s amazing about bottles from this period are their strength. Labelled as Naturally High Strength these do have a good period of maturation behind them yet retain levels you just don’t see nowadays.
Glen Mhor were in the business of cask filling and this was during the D.C.L. period of ownership, where sales to independents were encouraged. There probably wasn't much beyond that and it'd be interesting to know if G&M had an agreement to mature their casks on the distillery site or whether these were shipping to Elgin for their slumber.
As we know, this is distilled in 1978 and bottled at 65.3%. This is our 16th Glen Mhor review and it certainly won't be our last, and will appear on our whisky review section. You'll also see there another 1978 G&M bottling at 62.2%, which I adored. This will be distilled during the era of the Saladin Boxes at the distillery
On the nose: very forthright and alive with browned apples, peanut brittle and shortcrust pastry. A lovely juiciness and with time, blueberries. A hemp sack, cereals, dried reeds and linseed oil, floral with pine wood. Water is beneficial and brings out a floral note.
In the mouth: utterly different, digestives and more cereals and that classic hardnosed Invernessian style. Rugged and unforgiving at cask strength, you can appreciate these Victorian steampunk qualities before adding a splash of water. Orange oil, well worn leather, nuttiness and tea leaves, cauliflower and perfume. Some wheat, almonds and more of that concrete Invernessian style - they certainly don't make 'em like this anymore.
Very typical of the period, and some of those odd notes that are more evident in higher strength and single cask bottlings from Glen Mhor. Uncompromising, challenging and very much of its environment. A true Highland whisky for those able to have the opportunity to experience it.