What remains of Glen Mhor today is dwindling and the memories are fading with each passing year. Demolished in 1983, to create retail space by a society that valued land over history, time has not been kind to what now resides in its space, nor the memory of a charismatic whisky. Once something is gone, it’s frankly gone for good and that’s a fact that doesn’t appear in any profit and loss ledger in corporate headquarters.
Whisky is more than merely just a liquid, or hit of alcohol. It binds many strangers together, across the continents and unites individuals with different social backgrounds, beliefs, status and such like in a universal appreciation. Personally, the historical aspect has always been a huge draw. Living in Scotland, arguably you appreciate the time and place more than those further afield. I’ve always had an interest in the past and how it impacts upon today. Whisky is no different and to appreciate today’s whiskies, you need to go back beyond.
Except in today’s social media scrum possession is nine tenths of the law. It’s all about here and now. The bling. The status. The name or age statement on the bottle. The pointless question to the masses to engage a reply. In reality, such things are shallow and hopefully only have a limited timeframe. I believe in human nature and the goodness of it. Sure, you need to occasionally prod a person in the right way, remind someone about transparency, or a kick up the ass in some cases, which is pretty handy when orchestrating the schedule for MALT. Eventually, things move in the right direction and there’s some sense of appreciation.
I presume that’s why you’re reading MALT and visiting us as more and more seem to do? We can dish out scores, toil for our whisky and dash onto the next release. Except we’re not interested in such a thing, or likes, or followers, or being seen. Some blow their own trumpets far too much. Yeah, we’re popular and big, but in my mind size doesn’t matter and it’s about the content each day.
You put the hard work in and as Kevin Costner once uttered: if you build it, he will come. The he being all of you out there right now of course. There is no shortcut for hard work and effort. Sure we could purchase fake followers like some accounts on IG, who many of you will know without having me spill the beans. It reaches a point where the numbers don’t matter anymore. Yep, over 250,000 views last month and while we won’t hit 2 million views in 2019 alone; we’ll come pretty close¹. I can regurgitate statistics all day, as can Mark. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter, as the focus is on creating a fertile site that offers a worthwhile destination, especially after the demise of Scotch Whisky dot com. If you don’t like this then great: we don’t really care. You cannot create a site that pleases everyone, because you end up pleasing no one: especially the industry who are used to being pandered to and heralded as wonderful.
A chat I had recently with a popular Instagram channel underlined the above. Their programming is a relentless downpour of bling bottles, ad-hoc videos and average photographs; nothing wrong in that whatsoever. It works for them, their market and their numbers. Focused on pushing forward and the next bottle, there was very little awareness in the history of whisky and the lost distilleries. My advice was to go back and not to be wrapped up in the exterior of whisky. Dig a little, unearth some discoveries.
For that person, we’ll do something right now with Glen Mhor. This, if you didn’t know, after Brora, is my favourite lost distillery – yes, Brora is coming back as something else like the 2nd Stone Roses album. Over-produced, slick and well, given its illustrious reputation, perhaps a Second Coming shouldn’t be attempted. Unless that is, if you can make money, which is Diageo’s purpose in life.
Frankly, I’m surprised that we don’t have more whiskies reviewed from Glen Mhor. I suppose that’s a reflection of how expansive the coverage has been and how confined I’ve been, kept from whiskies of my own; that’s a semi-resolution for 2020. All of this means, we don’t have what Mark and I refer to as a benchmark article for the distillery. This is essentially the one that deals with the history, which we can link to when required. Next time. For now then, pull up a chair, pour a dram and let’s venture back in time.
SMWS 57.5 Glen Mhor – review
Colour: liquid gold.
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 all spice, 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.
After all, mere change doesn’t represent a positive step forward now does it?
Of the lost Inverness trio of distilleries, Glen Albyn is the immediate and crowd-pleasing exponent. A delicious dram, whereas Millburn can be more hit and miss. Glen Mhor in comparison is the difficult and obtuse of the bunch. Time and patience unlocks a new appreciation. I’m always happy to spend time with a dram from this distillery.
Sample purchased at the Dornoch Castle Whisky Bar for this review.
¹ we’ll actually do it now – my new prediction.