Loch Dhu Speyside Whisky (produced at Mannochmore)
Loch Dhu isn’t a distillery as such and was made at the Speyside distillery Mannochmore, there are many rumours about ‘The Black Whisky’ Loch Dhu which was essentially a marketing idea at Diageo and was produced at Mannochmore in 1996. One rumour is the production method and how it gets its blackness. Diageo would tell you that it was matured in double charred casks and the addition of vast quantities of spirit caramel; however critics have been known to say that powdered charcoal was added and there was little or no filtration. The truth as always lies somewhere in between, Loch Dhu was not a particular success however after Diageo ceased producing Loch Dhu it achieved a kind of cult status in the USA which led to copycat version being released called Cu Dubh. We know that Speyside Distillery who produced Cu Dubh sent their more traditional whisky to Denmark for the blackening process to be completed which indeed involve a lot of caramel.
Both whiskies were hated by whisky critics the latter being referred to as one of the worst whiskies ever made. The cult status in America has however resulted in a shortage of the black whisky pushing prices up and becoming a collector’s item. The founders of Mannochmore in 1876 may be turning in the graves at this product however it really did put Mannochmore on the map.
Taste: Once you get past the black colour of Loch Dhu the scotch whisky is smooth and sweet with a dry gentle smokiness. Vision is an important part of taste however and it is difficult to get past.
Taste: Burnt sugar on the nose but the sweetness doesn’t really exist on palate, a very funny taste, not as bad as some critics suggest but you can do better. More an investment than an enjoyable tipple.