Mannochmore has perhaps been unkindly described as one of Diageo’s workhorse distilleries, producing considerable volumes of malt for the company’s numerous blends, including Haig and Dimple. But for a while in the mid-’90s it was famous in its own right among the whisky fraternity for its role in the infamous Loch Dhu (the black whisky) rumpus. How and why did Loch Dhu gets its dark colouring? There has never been a satisfactory solution to the puzzle, but Mannochmore was certainly one ingredient.
The distillery’s early days were no less fraught; opened by the John Haig Company in 1971 in order to provide malt for the growing global demand for blends, it quickly closed. Upon re-opening in 1992, it was to meet with further turbulence as for a lengthy spell it not only shared a workforce with neighbouring Glenlossie but the two distilleries alternated production periods. However, since 2008, it has been operating full time with its own dedicated crew.
The moving parts at Mannochmore are steam-driven and 3 spirit stills can produce 17,000 litres of spirit each. There is an on-site plant for converting waste products into ‘black grain’ for cattle-feed.
As a single malt, the unpeated whisky is most commonly found as a 12-year-old in Diageo’s Flora & Fauna range. The nose is vanillary with a touch of citrus and fig and prune. The palate boasts juicy barley and dark marmalade, while rich spices and dark chocolate dominate the finish.