On this page, we're all about whisky. This will be an ongoing pursuit as we track down bottlings and samples to explore Glen Mhor in detail. There will also be photographs of other Glen Mhor bottles that we've not tracked down yet, bottles that we want to add to what will be the definitive Glen Mhor review listing. 

These have been split into blends we know Glen Mhor featured in versus single malts.

So, far we have 23 reviews - a long way to go!

On scoring, 1-10 keeps things simple with 5 being the average. There are other scoring mechanisms, each comes with its positives and minus characteristics. However, what any scoring doesn't capture is the scarcity and joy of being able to experience a whisky from Glen Mhor.

The whiskies are listed in order of bottler name with any official releases coming first.  


While this modern-day version recreation of the Shackleton whisky doesn't feature any Glen Mhor (some of the limited editions do), it's worth featuring as it taps into the heritage of the distillery and its legacy today.

Master Blender, Richard Paterson, was able to assess the original liquid which came from Glen Mhor, and it surprised all the experts with its quality having being distilled in the late 1890s, into the turn of the century. There have been a couple of limited recreations, but this is the first mass-market release, which you can pick up for under £24 on sale and is bottled at 40%. In fact, Amazon currently has it for £18, which is just ridiculous. That's a commission link by the way - think of it as financing more Glen Mhor here.

So, personally, it's kinda cool that the memories of Glen Mhor, Shackleton and the blending of the Mackinlay's, live on in a subtle way. Widely distributed, I suspect that many don't even know the legacy of the whisky. However, as we're a thorough bunch, you can reach about the original whisky in our Documentation section under 1907, on our Photograph page, you'll find some of the images of the original bottles taken in 2000. We'll add this review to our whisky section where you'll find everything liquid to do with Glen Mhor - we've got some cracking whiskies incoming.

Colour: light gold.

On the nose: young but tempered nicely, smoked lemon, green apples, a cheap white wine, a wet sponge, and vanilla. Some dampness, new tablet, yeast, and reflux. Almond brittle, olives, mineral water, and pebbles. Delving in again, lime juice, dulled cinnamon and weathered orange.

In the mouth: light but retains some body. Again, a touch of youthfulness but not overpowering. Almonds, diluted apple juice, barley drops, bitter lemon on the finish with white pepper and vanilla. Simple, but pleasant.

My thoughts

This is much better than I expected. For the price, we’re seeing it in the UK in supermarkets (often discounted), my expectations were low. The nose is solid and the palate a little more restrained, but this has been blended with some skill. And having had a few old blends in my time, there is a sense of old bottle effect on the palate. Very much an old-style blend, created in the modern era, helped by the 100% focus on malt whisky. Excellent value for a whisky that doesn't feature grain.

Score: 6/10

Mackinlay's Shackleton The Journey 2nd Edition Blended Scotch Whisky

The first edition of the Shackleton recreation proved so popular, that both its creator (Whyte & Mackay) and the Antarctic Heritage Trust felt there was demand and potential for a sequel.

The Journey revisited was released as a 2nd edition in slightly less faithful packaging with the wooden box replaced by sturdy cardboard. The bottle remained wrapped, just like the original bottles that Shackleton took on his ill-fated expedition.

Bottled at 47.3%, Richard Paterson once again took the reigns to recreate the original liquid, where he blended a new edition using:

  • Aultmore
  • Ben Nevis
  • Dalmore (heavily peated)
  • Fettercairn
  • Glenfarclas
  • Glen Mhor – cask #1909 from 1980
  • Jura (aged in Limousin oak casks)
  • Mannochmore
  • Pulteney
  • Tamnavulin
Both editions have proven to be very well received and successful in raising a substantial donation to the Heritage Trust.

Yet, the Shackleton range was not done there as a more mainstream and limitless edition was released as the Shackleton Blended Malt Scotch whisky, which you can read about in our whisky section. For the price point, it is excellent value and doesn't come across as a modern-day blend, offering substance and personality for under £20.

Of course, it doesn't feature Glen Mhor, whereas this 2nd Journey does include a 1980 cask from the distillery. The edition number isn't stated, but the general consensus is 50,000 units, so potentially the Glen Mhor is the least present malt in terms of making up the percentage of the blend. But Richard has noted its influence even at the smallest of levels. And it is great that we actually know what created this new edition.

My thanks to Kieran for the bottle, which I promptly opened and passed around a charity tasting evening that I was co-hosting. This left me with about half a bottle to explore and bring you this review. The Journey 2nd Edition isn't too difficult to find, you might find a dusty bottle in a whisky retailer for around £100, or take your chance at auction.

Colour: a very light caramel.

On the nose: a noticeable smokiness, not overpowering, rather seasoning and a residue throughout the experience. Honey glazed ham, gauze and soft apples. Raw barley, withered vanilla, gentle peat and a surprising level of citrus to cut through the densest aromas. 

In the mouth: a burst of spiciness, then it calms down with the wood coming in before the smokiness takes us into the long finish. Also onboard is that peatiness, just enough which replicates the early levels of Glen Mhor - remember all whisky would have had some element of peat in them in the late 1890s, early 1900s. Some bitterness, but pleasant in its levelling, hints of papaya and grapefruit. Roasted chestnuts, a sooty aspect and an agreeable texture.

My thoughts

More excellent blending, and very much an old-style from my experience. Layered and integrated, it is very agreeable with only the price putting off some customers - even with £5 of the original retail price going to the Heritage Trust. A modern showcase in recreating the past and whether you fancy stepping into such a realm will determine whether you pay the fee.

Next up, I expect, will be the original recreation. A chance to do a side-by-side comparison of all three perhaps?  

Score: 7/10

Mackinlay's VOB Old Scotch Whisky 

You can read the full article here.

Bottler: Mackinlay's

Distilled: Likely 1950s and possibly some 1960s stock

Bottled: As per the article, believed to be the 1960s, possibly the late 1950s.

Strength: 70 proof (old UK standard, divide by 1.75 to convert to ABV)

Colour: a rich, decadent caramel.

On the nose: a light arrival initially, traces of engine oil and an old room that's been locked up for years. Orange, camphor and wet concrete - that's the Glen Mhor signature. Cracked walnuts, bashed old brass and green peppercorns. A faded rustiness, sage, worn grease, honeycomb and mocha.

In the mouth: well poised, an initial suggestion of soap that soon fades as the peat steps in and endures into a long finish. Spent smoke and old ashes, charred beef with a pleasant oiliness. The fruit in here has lost its vibrancy and sparkle, being swamped by more dominant flavours. Black peppercorns and a rusted old bar joins in on the finish. 

My thoughts

Very evidently an old-style blend with a high malt ratio and those subtle smoky and sooty flavours that you associate with a more manual and direct-fired era. Much to enjoy, much to appreciate and you can pick up the Glen Mhor aspects. Glen Albyn is likely more of the softer faded fruits and with 2 distilleries under its belt, would Mackinlay's look to outside their portfolio for other distilleries in blend? We'll probably never know, but with the exception of some grain whisky, this is very much an Inverness-based blend. 

Score: 8/10

Mackinlay's Old Scotch Whisky 

You can read the full article here.

Bottler: Mackinlay's

Distilled: 1960s and possibly early 1970s

Bottled: During the 1970s

Strength: 70 proof (old UK standard, divide by 1.75 to convert to ABV)

Colour: honeycomb

On the nose: sour plums initially and not much else, so I put it aside for a couple of days to settle down. Returning, old lemonade, green jelly sweeties, lime peel and a glass-like tint that I find is suggestive of an old bottle effect. Shortbread, used tea leaves, metallic, dried moss and an old oily rag.

In the mouth: caramel and a surprising level of sootiness in places. Chalk dust, toast, olives and a noticeable body underlines the density of the nose. Liquorice, chocolate, cloves and figs.

My thoughts

Fairly average stuff without that x-factor that you really hope to experience with a blend. There's a lack of fruitiness, instead giving rise to a density and machinery-like dynamic. Less commercial is another passing thought; not an immediate crowd pleaser or something for the masses. If you enjoyed a Mackinlay's in this era, then you were a character as well.

You'll pour this today and most will be turned off by it, as it isn't a lively or bubbly blend that captures your attention. There's something more dark and foreboding here, a bygone experience that (in most cases) won't be to your liking, but you'll be better for having taken a dip. 

Always vary of miniatures, I'll pick up a full-sized bottle as over time, it may show new qualities. There's a high malt content present and I've certainly had worse blends form the 1970s but also much better, so this is an oddity that sits firmly in the middle of the pack.

Score: 5/10

Original Mackinlay's Finest 21 year old 

You can read the full article here.

Bottler: Mackinlay's

Distilled: 1960s 

Bottled: During the 1980s

Strength: 43%

On the nose: a pleasant sherried character is evident, bergamot, plums, chocolate and mulch. Basil leaf, brown sugar, cinder toffee, Typhoo tea bag and dried fruit. Just enough to make you take notice.

In the mouth: it is a little drab initially, the sherry aspect feels less assured and heavily refilled. A tinge of alcohol. Honeycomb, malty, blackberries, cherry menthol and a touch of soap. Wood bitterness, orange rind and coco pops.

My thoughts

Solid stuff, the nose promises more but the palate lacks a little depth and punch. Still, this isn't a bad blend and there's no grain whisky taint that you can sometimes taste. This is well engineered and delivered. Easy sipping and might have been a wee treat to some during the 80s.

Score: 5/10

Single Malts

Gordon & MacPhail 8 year old

The full article on this release is here.

Colour: worn gold.

On the nose: very soft and delicate arrival. Light brown sugar and fudge, probably tablet as well. A bit of a sweetie. There's also a musty aspect, Rich Tea biscuits and well used tea leaves. Some oak, mace and wood spice as well bringing an edginess. It all hangs together quite well with a splash of orange zest.

In the mouth: very spicy, black spices and plenty of char. A little smoke, sweetness and sourness. Mostly woody, a metallic copper aspect but devoid of those extremities we sometimes see from Glen Mhor. Some caramel, dark chocolate and robust coffee beans.

My thoughts

On the nose, this is quite an assured whisky. Very fitting with what Gordon & MacPhail were bottled in bygone decades. Just enough poise at 40% and a gentle influence. Creating a dram that is easily drinkable and yet not quite like anything today.

Still, this the release you'll see on your travels and it is now the entry point for Glen Mhor appreciation. Also, being the most affordable of releases it isn't a major jump into the unknown. A better than average 8 year old release in this range. 

Score: 6/10

Gordon & MacPhail Glen Mhor 1965- review

If you come across a bottle of Glen Mhor at retail, auction or even in a bar, there’s a high chance it will be a release from Elgin's Gordon & MacPhail.

The independent family firm has been a staunch supporter of Glen Mhor for many generations. Their single malt presence was established by bottling a variety of distilleries, distilled in the 1960s and beyond. Older expressions have been released by distilleries local to Speyside such as Mortlach, Glenlivet and Glen Grant, which have been earmarked by the family as being suitable for long-term maturation.

There are a variety of releases from Glen Mhor, dating from vintages in the 1960s and these will continue to be released – something I’ll come back to. This particular sample was purchased by me at auction. The hammer price was £60 for 3cl, which might seem excessive to some onlookers, but knowing how much bars in Scotland can charge for a smaller and younger measure of Glen Mhor, the deal was good.

This 1965 which was bottled in 2007 is 41 years of age and presented at 43%. The full-sized release nowadays will set you back in the region of £700-£800 - and sadly climbing - given the investment aspect of whisky we’re seeing. I’m fortunate that this is within my price range if need be. However, G&M releases are plentiful compared to the single cask bottlings of Glen Mhor. So, they are never top of my must-have list and are easily acquired if need be.

The official release as photographed by the Whisky Exchange:

The connections between Glen Mhor and Gordon & MacPhail are strong. I would love to know how many casks G&M purchased over the years, however outside of Mackinlay’s and DCL, I suspect they were the largest customer of the distillery. We know the lack of filling orders was one of the reasons why the families sold out to DCL in 1972. This, in turn, ended the official single malt presence of Glen Mhor, a malt that enjoyed popularity in the North of Scotland.

G&M stepped into this breach in 1976, by releasing an 8 year old single malt expression of Glen Mhor. A whisky that still remains the gateway for many into their journey with this distillery. Plentiful, it’s the ‘cheapest’ of the Glen Mhor expressions at a couple of hundred pounds. Arguably, not the best as there are batch variations (we will be reviewing several in our whisky section), but it gives you a sense of the distillery and the house style of G&M.

In early 2020, I was fortunate to spend a day with one of the directors of G&M for a magazine article. One of the highlights was visiting their sample room where they monitor casks that they believe are a couple of years near bottling. A vast panoramic maze of sample bottles awaited. Included in what we tried was a 1966 Glen Mhor at 56.5%, with the sample drawn in November 2019.

Almost 55 years of age, there was plenty of vibrancy left in the whisky and with other samples from this distillery present, we’ll at least be safe in the knowledge that Glen Mhor will continue to be bottled in some shape or form, for future generations. I just wish I was writing a distillery-specific piece as I envisage they'd have some wonderful information - and I'd love to purchase an empty Glen Mhor cask.

What I also took from my visit, was their understanding of the distillery distillate and those that are suited for longer-term maturation. Seeing Glen Mhor included amongst some of Speyside’s most famous distilleries is a testament to the quality of the whisky being produced at the distillery in the 1960s, at least. 

Gordon & MacPhail Glen Mhor 1965 - review

Bottler: Gordon & MacPhail

Details: nil specified likely a mix of ex-bourbon and sherry casks.

Distilled: 1965
Bottled: 2007 at 41 years of age
Strength: 43%

Colour: light gold.

On the nose: the arrival is buffed sherry wood, aged and resinous. Mixed with some delicate fruits and creamy vanilla, it's an elegant arrival, stylish but restrained. Sultanas, hints of orange zest, apricot and nutty brittle. Beeswax, honey with strawberries and caramel. 

In the mouth: soft and pristine, continuing the restrained but luxurious feel. Vanilla oak, damp earth, tea leaves, oily with smoke on the finish with prunes and figs. The brief harsh pepperiness of black peppercorns being cracked in the mouth. A watery tangerine segment, tobacco and redcurrants. Some wood bitterness as well that comes from age but nothing domineering. 

My thoughts

The nose is gorgeous, but the palate shows its age with the oak taking more control. Plenty of vibrancy and vitality from Glen Mhor at this age - particularly if you consider its reduced strength. There is a consistent feel to these G&M bottlings of Glen Mhor at reduced strengths; an engaging and enjoyable whisky, yet you're left feeling you're missing the directors cut.

What would be interesting is comparing this to some of the 60s casks of Glen Mhor that G&M still have? These will be bottled at cask strength and one of these was released last year. After all this time, they'll be on a similar strength basis but with more time for the wood to take a grip or not? As for any whisky with such a high price tag, I'd suggest trying before you buy, if you're able to afford the outlay and have that wonderful opportunity to experience a dram.   

Score: 7/10

Gordon & MacPhail Glen Mhor 1979 - review

Full article is available here.

Bottler: Gordon & MacPhail

Details: nil specified likely a mix of ex-bourbon and sherry casks.

Distilled: 1979
Bottled: 2004 at 24 or 25 years of age
Strength: 43%

On the nose: burnt lemon and old wool, quite the curious arrival. Now, white pepper and limescale before some comfortable ground with a light caramel and peach stone. Apples and a brief floral note before faded orange and buttercup. Heather and given time, an old lantern rag, camphor and pomegranate. Where next? Oh, tomato vines and a bready character.

In the mouth: less refined and more bonkers now. At first this wasn't very approachable and while I suggest time was beneficial, it opened the gates to a burnt aspect, toast, caramel and cinder toffee. Pear, grapes and burnt butter. Oats, saccharin and musty cardboard. Oak bitterness at times and the classic concrete note. Heather, a waft of smoke, toasted pine nuts, honey and figs. Think I'll go lie down somewhere.

My thoughts

This is more your classic bonkers Glen Mhor bottling. The sort of release that sends enthusiasts up and over the nearest hill, desperately trying to escape the clutches of the Mhor monster, or find another. It's hard to fathom and not by design. There was, at times, something bizarrely brilliant happening in the still room without any consultants to tamper with what was an ageing distillery and equipment. 

Bottles such as this underline a presence and style of whisky we don't see in the modern age and when 'modern' drinkers are faced with this, it pulls the rug from underneath their feet. Most will look elsewhere, while a handful of nutters will find all of this rather enticing and captivating. I know what camp I reside in and we'll see how this one is received during our March tasting.

Score: 7/10

Gordon & MacPhail Glen Mhor 1979 - review

Full article is available here.

Bottler: Gordon & MacPhail


Distilled: 25th May 1979

Bottled: May 1994

Cask Number: 2376

Strength: 66.7% (natural cask strength)

On the nose: the classic Glen Mhor direct style is present and unleashed! Good old dusty concrete floors, old wood and a hint of wax. The blow is soften by some Highland heather honey and hints of citrus that never fully come through. Wood spice, an old chalkboard, buttery and underpinned by a touch of smoke. Decayed lemon, a bowl of bar nuts and black spices. 

In the mouth: you'd think this would be rocket fuel at 66.7% however you'd be wrong, a marvellous chunky and full blown example of the distillery. The rawness of the barley delivers and plenty of oils and a rich texture. More of the honey, nuttiness and heather honey. Old nutmeg, vanilla as you'd expect and red apples. That delicate smoke circles around and flashes of the citrus that never fully jumps on board.

My thoughts

The strength of the whisky is noteworthy, as it suggests that the cost-cutting measures that were beginning to be implemented across several distilleries may have been adopted by Glen Mhor. There was a shift away from diluting the distillate to reduce costs, although in this instance, it seems possibly that it was more of a request and agreement with Gordon & MacPhail. The independent bottler often had specific requests and was one of Glen Mhor's largest customers. Consequently, it is possible that they were able to insist on a purer distillate being placed into the casks, with the potential for the casks to mature on-site. This would be keeping in line with some of the distillery agreements that are still in place to this day, even with the company moving away from independent bottling.

Nevertheless, during my a day experience with Gordon & MacPhail for the purpose of writing an article for a magazine, I was afforded the opportunity to sample a cask of Glen Mhor and to observe a series of cask samples from the distillery, which were still undergoing maturation. The company places a high value on these casks and the long-term maturation potential of the distillate. It is encouraging to note that Glen Mhor will continue to be bottled for years to come, despite the fact that many of us cannot afford it. 

A rollercoaster of a whisky, and another entry in the cask strength logs that showcase just how good Glen Mhor can be in a more natural form.

Score: 8/10

Hart Brothers Glen Mhor 1976 - review

Full article is available here.

Bottler: Hart Brothers

Details: nil specified single cask, ex-bourbon.

Distilled: 1976
Bottled: 1997 at 21 years of age
Strength: 43%

Colour: bashed copper

On the nose: soft fruits, lime and sandy. Light honey, old red bricks (a classic Glen Mhor note often seen as concrete floors), fudge and vanilla cream. Mineral notes that tap into the brickwork aspect. Tangerine, kumquat, orange pips and gold leaf. Old pine needles, mulch orange blossom.

In the mouth: zesty and fully of vibrancy with fruit sugars. Vanilla sponge, creamy caramel and more strength than 43% suggested. Honey, green olives, apricot, lemon and a lingering wisp of smoke. Butterscotch, toffee and new wool follow. There's a pleasing lightness and almost 'approachable' aspect to this for a Glen Mhor. 

My thoughts

The Hart Brothers according to Whiskybase, only released four Glen Mhor's and at least three were the 1976 vintage; the other is likely to be so as well So, a small parcel of casks were purchased and this 21yo is a lovely thing. Responding well to the lower strength, it retains its character and a pleasing array of characteristics. 

What it does lack is the pronounced bonkers aspects we see of Glen Mhor's at a higher strength. Perhaps some of that youthful vibrancy has been left behind during its teenage years or the corporate guidance of D.C.L. Leaving us with a well established and tasty single malt. 

Score: 8/10

James MacArthur's Glen Mhor 1976 - review

We can have a website about all things Glen Mhor, but this must include the whiskies themselves. So, as promised, expect more thoughts and reviews as we undertake the aim to build the most definitive collection of Glen Mhor reviews.

Of course, every review is tinged with sadness. Every cap twisted, every seal broken, means one less Glen Mhor in the universe. That's a sad thought, yet this is whisky, and it was meant to be opened, experienced and (hopefully) enjoyed. The work and effort of everyone we've documented in our research demands that the distillery legacy is celebrated by the mere act of enjoying their efforts.

I cannot think of a better few hours than sitting down with a sample of Glen Mhor and seeing where it takes us. An evening to remember and an event that I'll be aiming to do on a regular basis.  

We're kicking off with this miniature bottling from James MacArthur, which was released in April 1993. It's part of MBC Set 5, which is likely to mean Miniature Bottle Club; the UK branch. A total of 3 whiskies were included in the set and 180 sets were issued. This raises the question if you do the maths of 5cl x 180, that's quite a short outturn from a cask. 

This is the only bottling from James MacArthur when it comes to Glen Mhor. So, that removes a theory that the remainder of the cask was bottled in a 70cl release. Perhaps this small parcel of whisky was acquired? Or they were terribly unlucky with a leaky cask? Do the maths, and this left the cask in 1991, or at the very latest 1992. So, in theory, a natural container comes into play, or more likely, which might suggest the cask lost most of its contents.

Distilled in 1975, this is shortly after DCL took over the distillery and will feature the Saladin boxes in effect. Whenever you're faced with an old whisky, it is fun and educational to look at that time period, which you can do via our Distillery Info and Timeline pages.

We've already reviewed a 1975 bottling from Cadenhead's and that had more cask interaction in terms of colour and exactly the same strength - small world.

Bottler: James MacArthur's

Details: nil specified (ex-bourbon cask surely)

Distilled: 1975
Bottled: April 1993, 15 years of age.
Strength: 60.9%

Colour: a very faint haze.

On the nose: initially, very pungent alcohol. Limescale, chalk, white pears and wallpaper paste. A very creamy cream soda, gooseberries and a glass of Portuguese Green wine, raw cake mixture. This needs to sit for a while...

Better. Vanilla essence, coconut flakes, oats and a rugged spirit beneath it all with some tropical fruits trying to fight through the flooring.

Adding water tones it down a little, but it's still prickly in places. A touch more fruity, less weird I suppose, apples and orange oil.

In the mouth: spirit-driven, rugged and with dusty oats. More raw cereals, a puff of flour, hint of soap that never fully develops. A modern lemonade, green bananas, newly laid concrete, bashed mint leaf, Granny Smith apples, vanilla caramel, white chocolate and an effervescent quality. Adding water reveals more dustiness and a much fuller body.

My thoughts

A tenacious malt, Highland in full regalia; difficult and yet rewarding. A style not seen today. 

As you'll discover here, 1970s Glen Mhor is hugely variable. Full of bizarre aromas and flavours, twists and turns. A period when DCL maxed out production. I've yet to unearth the details, but I believe they did make internal changes (not to the production equipment) but in terms of fermentation, perhaps yeast and spirit cuts. Some might have been successful, other attempts, not so much. In other words, shortcuts aimed to boost production and minimise costs. 

This might explain the variations, along with some casks that have seen better days. After all, DCL only wanted Glen Mhor (and Glen Albyn) for their Highland malt status and shortfall in blending stock. Hopefully, one day, I can put more flesh on the weak bones of theory. 

I enjoyed this Glen Mhor, but it really did need time. I'm glad when I originally opened it, I put the bottle aside for a few weeks. Even in the glass, giving it time to settle. There's very little cask influence here, so it gives us a sense of the distillate. A whisky that does feature some of the good and bad elements of Glen Mhor during this time. As such, a very enjoyable evening and memorable malt.

Score: 7/10.

Cadenheads's Glen Mhor 1975 - review

Bottler: Cadenhead's
Details: bourbon oak cask
Distilled: 1975
Bottled: October 1992, 17 years of age.
Strength: 60.9%

Colour: sandy.

On the nose: sugary apples with some lemon juice thrown in and a spirit-like nature. A delicate assortment of nutmeg, vanilla and cinnamon with no suggestion of alcohol.

In the mouth: boom it's a flavour bomb arrival flush with more of those juicy apples and mangos. The alcohol strength is more noticeable now but there’s no astringency only refined power. An enjoyable textural coating on the palate with elements of olives followed by bursts of citrus sweetness and a relatively short finish.

Score: 6/10

Gordon & MacPhail Glen Mhor 1978

You can read the full article about this bottle here and here are the tasting notes...

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. 

My thoughts

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.

Score: 9/10

Cadenheads's Glen Mhor 1982 - review

Bottler: Cadenhead's
Details: bourbon hogshead, 186 bottles, £195 for a full-sized bottle, £65 for 20cl.
Distilled: 1982
Bottled: July 2014 - 31 years old
Strength: 52.9%

On the nose: initially, apples to match the colour. I’d been forewarned that this old lovely needed a little time and patience to open up, so we’ll just do that now…

Adding a couple drops of water from my trusty Pasteur pipette brings out more citrus notes that has me swinging between the sweetness of pineapple to the sourness of grapefruit. This actually reminds me of making granola with jumbo oats and honey being most prominent. A little bit of butter lavishes fading into cream crackers. A freshness runs through this malt, the sense of being outdoors in the open, exposed to the elements. A faint touch of spice as well. This might well be 52.9% but noses extremely well without any alcohol burn.

In the mouth: Oh, that’s something else. This just glides across the palate slowly building and then delivering a finish laden with glowing embers that have you wanting more. The finish refuses to let go; holding on till the very end. Funnily enough in the Shackleton recreation piece mentioned previously, they needed Glen Mhor to add that little bit of smokiness.

Backing up for a moment, the introduction is sweetness; a real syrup smothered delivery with a little depth provided by brown sugar, or molasses if you prefer. Then more of that grapefruit citrus mix with oranges thrown in, before smokes leads onto the embers in the long finish.

Score: 7/10

Cadenheads's Glen Mhor 1983 - review

Bottler: Cadenhead's
Details: Manager's sample, last cask Cadenhead's have of Glen Mhor.
Distilled: 1983
Bottled: this has yet to be bottled officially.
Strength: 50.8%

Colour: golden honey.

On the nose: thankfully not hugely wood driven, there is some vanilla oak and allspice as you’d expect but there’s plenty of life in this Mhor. Red berries and apricots add a fruity twist. A dram such as this benefits from time. Almonds, palm sugar, apple juice and black tea all drift past with sweet cinnamon and cereals. Bitter chocolate takes us towards the end with a touch of lemon.

In the mouth: we’ve suddenly hit the accelerator and turbo boost. A real fruity delight with mango, Kiwi fruit, apples, pears and a sugary emphasis. Lemons, a vanilla sponge with sugar cubes and limestone with elements of flint, a buttery waxiness and candy floss. A lovely balance between the spirit and a good cask. All the more remarkable as this was distilled during its last year of existence and some distilleries in their twilight years produced some really mundane stuff.

For a Glen Mhor, this is very approachable and dynamic. Traditionally in my experience, whiskies from this distillery require patience and detective groundwork to unlock the hidden delights. This Mhor in comparison has an openness not associated with this Highlander. The palate is truly sugar fruit-driven, which again, is not characteristic but thoroughly enjoyable. You can appreciate why Cadenhead’s are keeping an eye on this cask and its potential. This Glen Mhor is more than good enough to bottle right now, but can it develop further? I believe it may just do so and I’m already looking forward to the scramble for a bottle when the time comes.

Also worth highlighting the 1983 vintage is very rare, given the ending of production early in '83 and prior to that, reduced production.

Score: 8/10

Gordon & MacPhail Glen Mhor 1978 66.2%

The original post is here.

This particular release was a vatting of 4 casks (2263, 2264, 2266, 2268), distilled on the 13th June 1978 and bottled in October 1993 at 15 years of age. Excitingly, this is bottled at a natural strength of 62.2%. Meaning this was put into the cask at a more robust ABV than we’re used to seeing nowadays. 

On the nose: immediately this is robust and forceful and tinted with the rare aroma of stone fruit. Smoked lemons, New York Vanilla Cheesecake and more fruits appear with time in the glass. Crushed white grapes, a white wine-link aspect, grapefruit and tablet. Plasticine, cotton sheets and a pleasing floral aspect break up any of that classic Glen Mhor harshness. Oily, wood sap, linseed oil, honeysuckle and lemon meringue pie. I’m also perplexed for a few moments by another note that I’ve only really experienced to this degree in a bottling of Glenisla. Yeah, I’m talking about bubble-gum, or more specifically from my childhood, Bazooka Joe. Adding water unlocks softer fruits, toffee crisp and a pan scrubbed with iron wool – it is Glen Mhor after all.

In the mouth: the texture really grips you with its oily and luscious nature. There’s a lingering raw power that continues into the finish of mint leaf. It’s a beast but wonderfully of its time and distillery. Pine needles, grapefruit and flashes of tropical flavours – a rarity for Glen Mhor! Harsh in places, yes. Tonka bean, silver needle tea and chalk dust. The addition of water here calms the vigorous nature and turns proceedings creamy, fruitier, matchsticks and smokiness.

My Thoughts

This is a hugely enjoyable and dynamic Glen Mhor featuring a superb nose that you can spend hours in the company with. A fine vatting by the minds at Gordon & MacPhail that ultimately pays dividends. 

These cask strength Glen Mhor’s remain some of the best in my opinion and the palate here just falls short of a higher score, but I’m taken and happy to have experienced this flashback to an older style of whisky.

Score: 8/10

Gordon & MacPhail Glen Mhor 8 year old - review

Bottler: Gordon & MacPhail
Details: 40% strength
Distilled: unknown - likely mid to late 1970s
Bottled: bottled at 8 years of age
Strength: 40%

The classic red label Gordon & MacPhail bottling for the 8 year old, which has morphed into various designs over the years including the later design with a drawing - mirroring the 70cl equivalent release. This one does also exist as a 70 proof strength, which would indicate a 1970s bottling. However, this particular release ditches that aspect for the strength format we use today - indicating that it's from the 1980s.

Colour: caramel.

On the nose: light initially, and some maltiness. Then apples start to come through go the musty aspect, with chalk dust and creaminess. Time brings out more apples and pears in a relaxed fashion. There's a savoury, beefy, element within and a herbaceous note towards the end with wood sap.

In the mouth: a little soap initially, but this soon moves on. More wood and savoury notes, a watered-down beef stock cube, pepper, balsa wood, tea leaves, wood spice and bitter oak. Oily and resinous in places.

These 8 year olds can vary depending on the batches, as mentioned in my Instagram TV review. There's no real way beyond the label to tell when it was bottled. This one is more middle of the road. It has character but does suffer at the reduced strength of 40%. Solid enough entry dram to Glen Mhor in general.

Score: 5/10

Gordon & MacPhail Glen Mhor 1979 - review

Bottler: Gordon & MacPhail
Details: bottled in 2000, 21 years of age.
Distilled: 1979
Bottled: 2000
Strength: 40% 

Colour: light honey.

On the nose: the lightness delves into the aromas itself with slightly ripened red apples assisted by tinned peaches. The fruit levels are high with pear drops, a twist of lime and the familiarity of barley sweets moving into icing sugar. The gentle addition of water reveals an oily aspect.

In the mouth: a lovely oozing texture that is gentle and lingers beautifully. Far from forceful with many of today’s whiskies, there’s a delicate majesty at work here. A gentle vanilla presence unfolds followed by liquorice, then camomile and forest fruits. Towards the end of this voyage, a touch of bitterness steps forth before a dry finish takes us into the score.

The laid back and refined atmosphere of the bar was a perfect setting for this Glen Mhor. Being taken down to 40% may on paper be a step too far but these older styles of whiskies can take the hit. This 1979 expression isn’t the best example from this distillery or even a Glen Mhor from Gordon & MacPhail however there remains plenty to saviour.

Score: 6/10

Major P.R. Reid's Glen Mhor 1967 - review

Bottler: Major P.R. Reid’s Special Reserve
Details: 14 years old, this was with an outturn of 1500 bottles.
Distilled: 1967
Bottled: 1981
Strength: 45.8%

Colour: a light pine

On the nose: very fruity with tinned peaches in syrup and a gentle herbal minty aspect. A light floral note, sawdust and caramel. There are some chocolate and a vibrant black tea influence with a hint of bitterness followed by a meaty quality.

In the mouth: from the nose, I was expecting more density however it's light despite being laden with fruit. Scottish tablet verging on caramel with the sugars and eucalyptus oil followed by a vanilla char finish almost reverting back to the black tea on the nose.

Glen Mhor can be a chameleon at times to many being wildly difficult to unpick. This whisky lined you up with its aromas and then hit you with a sucker punch of the fruit elegance. A lovely example from this distillery.

Score: 8/10

Old Malt Cask Glen Mhor 1982 - review

Full article on this bottle and review is here.

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...

My Thoughts

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.

Score: 8/10 

Signatory Glen Mhor 16yo - review

Bottler: Signatory Vintage
Details: Unknown, likely vatting of ex-bourbon casks
Distilled: Unknown
Bottled: Unknown
Strength: 43%

Full article is here.

Colour: a pretty light tan

On the nose: stone fruits, pebbles and a mineral aspect. The spirit is still evident at this strength and age, suggesting some gentle casks. Sour apples, a strawberry spring water drink, kumquat, coconut and old nutmeg. 

In the mouth: a touch of smoke and some stone fruits with strawberries. Dried hay, concrete, white chocolate, toffee and a dull vanilla. Earthy as well, musty in parts. Embers, tired wood with a gentle assortment of wood spice and some old bottle effect. Green fruits with apples and pears.

My thoughts

An accessible Glen Mhor if you're fortunate enough to have the chance to taste, plenty of character at this reduced strength. Echoes of the past linger and it does taste like a late 1970s/early 1980's Glen Mhor in my opinion, but that's just me. There's an element of the unforgiving distillery style in parts, but during this D.C.L. era, whatever changes they made internally, and we know malting was certainly one, they produced some enjoyable whiskies.

While this release is wrapped up in a little mystery, who doesn't love a bit of the unknown? Only through tasting do you appreciate what's inside and this is a pour that I'll enjoy over the coming weeks, months and maybe, years. 

Score: 7/10

Signatory Glen Mhor 1977 22yo - review

Bottler: Signatory Vintage
Details: cask No.1563 which produced 384 bottles
Distilled: 12th May 1977
Bottled: 7th December 1999
Strength: 43%

Full article is here

On the nose: a very accessible arrival with apples and pears providing some sense of meadow fruits and also cinnamon. White grapes and chalkiness that delivers a mineral-like quality. There's an oaky aspect but restrained. Mint leaf, melon, flour, vanilla and nougat.

In the mouth: so soft and delicate but the flavour still comes through at this strength. More of the meadow fruits, icing sugar, potato peelings and pencil shavings. Lemon, sherbet, almonds, grapefruit and olives. 

My thoughts

Very typical of these Glen Mhor Signatory's with a gentle and calming aspect. Very aromatic, even at 43% with plenty of poise and vigour to keep you satisfied. 

Sure, at this reduced level there's less of the bonkers aspect of Glen Mhor. The rollercoaster and brutal nature of some releases was slowly ebbing away under the ownership of DCL. A different style of Glen Mhor and a whisky style we see very little of nowadays. And as much as I enjoyed very power, I still favour the rawness of the higher strength Glen Mhor's and their sheer level of depth and an ultimate Highland style. 

Score: 7/10

SMWS Glen Mhor 1979 - review

Bottler: Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Details: SMWS 57.5, bourbon cask
Distilled: March 1979
Bottled: May 1995 - 16 year old
Strength: 62.2%

On the nose: Misty fruits, grapes, sappy, delicate wood notes, boiled sweets, syrup, grassy, layered. Smoke with time, toffee, vanilla custard, orange? Fruits more pronounced with time.

In the mouth: gentle, less defined, drying, powerful peppery caramel finish, chewy toffee, smoke towards the finish some green fruits. Spices with allspice, peppercorns green, olives.

As you’d expect from Glen Mhor: challenging, provocative and ultimately rewarding. I do appreciate whiskies that aren’t immediate. Much like today’s online society around whisky, there is that sense of ease, shallowness and fakery. This is a whisky that refuses to bend to the modern way.

Score: 7/10

Thompson Bros & Angus Glen Mhor 1959 - review

Bottler: Thompson Bros. & Angus
Details: from ex-stone flagons which came up at auction in Scotland from an old Dundee estate in 2014. Both flagons were married and then bottled. Just 39 bottles were produced. Thanks to Whisky Auctioneer for the photograph.
Distilled: 1937-1959
Bottled: 2000
Strength: 48.6%

Colour: a decadent honeycomb.

On the nose: some chalk initially but certainly not limescale; this soon gives way to a creamy sugary character that had me looking for fudge at the table. Then that herbal minty aspect present in the 1967 edition, almost a peppermint tea but more floral. No surprises for guessing more fruit, what is it about these old whiskies and the fruit? What character the barley and yeast strains provided.

In the mouth: remarkably elegant and poised after all these years. Many avoid Dundee for good reason, but this fella has thrived in such an environment. A nutty toffee quality wrapped in smoke and some seasoning. A resinous character that sinks beneath the earth and you’re left grasping at bunches of herbs.

Some old bottle or stoneware effect here? I’ve not had enough to make a comment but this Glen Mhor captivated the audience. The fellas at the Dornoch Castle Whisky Bar may have some of this on sale – it was at on their stand during the event – so you can seek it out. I’d certainly consider spending more time with this piece of liquid history. 

Score: 9/10

Coming soon 

Are the following bottles we've bought to explore over the coming years to celebrate Glen Mhor...

Bottler: The Whisky Shop as Glenkeir Treasures - Cask Strength Selection
Details: 270 bottles, 30 years old
Distilled: April 1975
Bottled: November 2005
Strength: 51.2%

Bottler: Hart Brothers, Finest Collection.
Details: 21 years old - we did check with the Hart Brothers and there are no further details available  - worth a shot.
Distilled: 1975
Bottled: 1996
Strength: 43%

Bottler: Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Details: 15 years old, bottle 57.4
Distilled: March 1979
Bottled: May 1994
Strength: 63.1% 

The old-style Scotch Malt Whisky Society labels are iconic nowadays, but scant on detail. So, we approached the SMWS for details on 57.4 and they came up trumps with the original catalogue, which reads as:

'57.4 - Very flavoursome indeed; smoky, spicy and savoury.

From Inverness, the whisky is named after the great glen that runs from Inverness to Fort William. Neil Gunn was excise officer here for 14 years and wrote lovingly of it. Very pale colour from a plain oak cask, but do not be misled; this is very flavoursome whisky indeed, despite its appearance. The nose is smoky, spicy and savoury at the same time. It is sweet and peppery and tastes of malt and yeast. It improves when left in the glass.'

We'll be doing our own tasting notes when the bottle is opened. Perhaps as part of the full SMWS 57 line-up if we can source bottles. And look at the price of just £36! Nowadays, this bottle will cost you a little bit more.

Bottler: Signatory Cask Strength Collection
Details: 201 bottles, from a hogshead (cask #1606), 30 years old
Distilled: 22nd September 1982
Bottled: 4th December 2012
Strength: 53.7%

Bottler: Signatory Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Details: Casks 4041-4043, an outturn of 2400
Distilled: 21st September 1978
Bottled: May 1993
Strength: 43%

Signatory is a major bottler of Glen Mhor until recently. This miniature given its outturn is one you have a good chance of seeing.

Other Glen Mhor Releases

Now for some images of bottles that are out there and hopefully one day, we can acquire to review. Our thanks to Bert for these images of Glen Mhor releases, including a rarely seen miniature of the old official 10 year old bottling and the classic Italian full-sized release.