The 1983 Tasting Series #4: Glen Mhor

It’s the fourth entry in the trip through the closed distilleries of 1983. If you’ve been following so far, we’ve hit some interesting ones so far; my personal favorite to date being Banff. Unlike last week’s note that maybe Dallas Dhu could see a return, we can safely put Glen Mhor in the “definitely gone” category. It was demolished in 1988 and apparently there’s a supermarket on the site now (this curiously is the fate that a few distilleries ultimately share).

Apparently the costs of running Glen Mhor were high and output comparatively low for the cost (merely having a single pair of stills, output couldn’t have been too great). Around the 1980s some degree of renovation would have been needed, but that was the worst time to be in that situation – so, decommissioned it is.

Glen Mhor seems to be off a lot of peoples’ radar and is one of the middle-to-back of the pack ’83 distilleries in mindshare. I’ve seen a reasonable number of bottles on shelves to this day, most commonly Rattray bottlings of different vintage. Prices still seem to be on the low end of the range for whiskies of that age, to say nothing of closed distilleries (certainly not chasing the astronomical mark set by Port Ellen or Brora these days).

As I noted, Rattray bottlings seem to currently be the most plentiful. I’ll be looking at the Rattray 27y 1982 bottling, 54.2% (cask #1217).

The nose on this Glen Mhor was slightly sour – a touch of newmake for just a second – with some light white wine, confectioner’s sugar and a slightly stale malt taste. Not a great start. This sort of nose usually indicates a questionable cask in my experience.

The palate is woody initially with plenty of malt. More white wine, pepper; a big, oily mouthfeel, and a faintly salty note which I didn’t expect. The finish had cinnamon, pepper, malt, and a little general fruitiness. There was also a little more of the saltiness from the palate. There’s some faint apple skin late on the finish, and then it all turns a touch bitter.

The nose indicates a much different whiskey than what follows. Those sour-ish notes are usually a real turnoff to me – the whole thing ends up tasting slightly pukey, or you have that edgy sweetness that hints that the cask didn’t do enough. This was a real surprise – more pleasantly so than the Dallas Dhu last week with its wood and too-sweet character.

At a glance:

Glen Mhor A.D. Rattray 1982 – 27y, #1217 54.2% ABV
Slightly sour, lightly white wine. Some confectioner’s sugar. Malty, a bit stale.
Palate:  Woody upfront, with plenty of malt. More white wine, a little pepper, and a faintly salty note. Big body, slightly oily.
Finish:  Cinnamon, pepper, malt, a touch salty, a little fruit. Faint touch of apple skin. A touch bitter at the end but it kinda works.
Comment:  The nose is disappointing but it’s pretty wild after that. Nice mouthfeel, a little more dimensional than the old, flat whiskey it seems like.
Rating: B

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