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Loch Dhu Black Whisky

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Loch Dhu Black Whisky

Postby mchl » Fri Nov 14, 2003 8:48 am

There's a bottle posted for sale on EBay and I remember quite spirited bidding when last this 10yrold 40% was auctioned -- has anyone ever tasted this? How rare is it? Does it have a retail price? So far my research skills are insufficient to determine. Perhaps a more learned connoisseur could help?
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Postby lexkraai » Fri Nov 14, 2003 10:42 am

Loch Dhu, from Mannochmore distillery, was briefly on the market a few years ago, but was quickly withdrawn again after disappointing sales. No prices for guessing why: it was an absolutely awful whisky. To me, it was like drinking from a stale ash tray. The vast majority of whisky lovers around the world hated it, but some people liked it. The strong suspicion, although this never been confirmed by Diageo, is that the (almost) blackness was caused by the addition of vast amounts of caramel.

Since it was discontinued, the remaining bottles have become collector's items and prices have shot up from the original retail price which was in the £20-£25 bracket, if I remember correctly.

Hope this helps a bit!
Cheers, Lex
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loch dhu

Postby richard » Wed Aug 04, 2004 7:15 pm

just a line to say loch dhu is awful it has been charred twice thats why the colour is black not to do with caramel hope this helps
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Postby lexkraai » Thu Aug 05, 2004 7:14 am

Do you have the 'twice charred' from someone in the know within the industry? FAIK, Diageo has never made any official statements as to how they got it so dark. And what exactly does 'twice charred' mean in practical terms? Very heavy char?

Cheers, Lex
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Postby Iain » Thu Aug 05, 2004 8:30 am

I asked the char lady in our office building and she knows nothing about it .

:D
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double charred

Postby richard » Thu Aug 05, 2004 7:08 pm

bourbon barrels are charred on the inside of the barrels prior to the first filling this releases quantities of vanilla into both the first fill and second fill barrels and helps remove off notes i cant remember where i heard about the loch dhu being done twice but i am sure about it that is why it taste so bad any ideas iain
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Postby lexkraai » Fri Aug 06, 2004 7:24 am

I know about the charring of bourbon barrels and why it's done. But how can you char a barrel twice? Unless you mean very heavy char, but if that's the case, then why aren't several bourbons, which use heavily charred barrels, as dark as Loch Dhu?

Cheers, Lex
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Postby Aidan » Fri Aug 06, 2004 9:01 am

This is a complete guess, mind, but could it have been charred again before the second fill. This might caramelise the sugars from the burbon that would have soaked into the wood. This might make a darker drink???

Complete shot in the dark, this (groan).
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Postby lexkraai » Fri Aug 06, 2004 9:10 am

I can't imagine that making it as dark as Loch Dhu. Also, if you compare the taste and colour of Loch Dhu with Cu Dhub, you'll notice that CD is somewhat lighter than LD and its taste is less 'assertive' shall we say. I don't have a sample of LD to do the test, but my strong hunch is that if you would add (normal) whisky to LD until you get the colour of CD, the taste would be comparable. And CD is made dark with caramel, that's for sure; MacY has explicitly stated that.

Cheers, Lex
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lochdhu

Postby richard » Fri Aug 06, 2004 8:02 pm

the majoroty of the colour comes from the barrel ewan mitchell told me most of the colour from there barrels comes from the first five years being a carpenter i can see why loch dhu was so dark if the barrels were given a extra charring ie twice instead of once this is why it has a burnt flavour or charcoal as i remembered from abuot five years or so dont know about the bourbons i do drink good bourbons i know caramel does give colour uniformitiy when making big batches of blended whiskies and top selling malts in bulk as all barrels will give a different colour by the way did you ever drink the clear ardbeg i think was done by signatory no colour but it was without doubt a heavily peated ardbeg just something more to chew on
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loch dhu

Postby richard » Wed Sep 08, 2004 9:29 pm

i saw on ebay no 6116992047 loch dhu the seller said the same thing as me charring the barrels twice have a look for your self
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Postby lexkraai » Thu Sep 09, 2004 7:27 am

Just because many people repeat each other doesn't make it true, does it? What source is that statement based on? So far I haven't heard anyone talking about double-charred barrels and providing any evidence (company statement, personal observation, knowing someone involved in the production process)

Cheers, Lex
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double charred

Postby richard » Thu Sep 09, 2004 9:00 pm

thanks lex i accept your apology later if you look in scotch whisky by charles maclean its the mitchell beazley pocket guides under mannocmore it says loch dhu is a very dark coloured whisky drawn from double charred casks need i say anymore and these are his own words page 97
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Postby lexkraai » Thu Sep 09, 2004 10:07 pm

Where does Charlie MacLean say that the dark colour of Loch Dhu is caused by double-charred barrels (whatever that may be)? He just says that Loch Dhu is drawn from double-charred barrels. He makes no statement as to the cause of the dark colour.

Cheers, Lex
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Postby Admiral » Fri Sep 10, 2004 4:16 am

Keep going, lads, this is interesting! :)
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Postby lexkraai » Fri Sep 10, 2004 7:44 am

To make this discussion less vague, could someone-in-the-know explain what 'double-charring' is exactly? How does it differ from simply charring a barrel longer giving it a heavier charr? What is the charr level of a 'double-charred barrel' on the commonly used American scale? #4? #7? #20? I think we first need to establish this before we can discuss what the most likely cause of the dark colour of LD is.

Cheers, Lex
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oh dear

Postby richard » Fri Sep 10, 2004 6:27 pm

i am no expert but to me its so easy instead off charring the barrels once they repeated it again i dont know about the commonly used american i am not really interested i was telling what i read and what i was told i cant remember my sources but i was proven right something you seem to forgotten lex i was trying to help people on this forum not get grief about something i new i would like to know more about double charring and would take help on this subject and not ridicule people
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Postby mortlach99 » Fri Sep 10, 2004 7:26 pm

Hello.
I stay 10mins away from Mannochmore and have worked there a couple of times. Speaking to some of the workers there, they have all said it was a mistake and too much colouring was added :?:. This might be right, might be wrong
Sometimes the waffle which surrounds whiskies goes overboard.
Always puzzled me how you could double charr a barrel :? Do they do both sides :?: Only joking :!:
I did get a bottle but couldn't finnish it, I haven't met anyone who likes it.
They couldn't get rid of the stuff, it was selling for £10 a bottle. I know people who bought it by the case full. Good thinking by them when you see the price now.
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Postby lexkraai » Fri Sep 10, 2004 7:39 pm

Richard, I'm simply trying to get to the facts and separate them from hearsay. If double-charring is the same as heavy charring then why it is that it turns Loch Dhu black whereas it turns bourbon red? Loch Dhu looks as if loads of caramel is added and it tastes as if loads of caramel is added. That doesn't mean that that is the case, but all the available evidence at the moment (including the remark made by the Mannochmore workers that mortlach99 just mentioned) point to caramel overload whereas there are several arguments against double-charring. So caramel seems the more likely hypothesis unless and until further evidence against caramel or in favour of double-charring emerges.

At least, that's the conclusion I draw from the present data, but you may draw another one.

Cheers, Lex
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loch dhu

Postby richard » Fri Sep 10, 2004 9:59 pm

i am just trying to point out what i said was in good faith whiich seems to have been missed i dont think a overdose of caramel would bring out a flavour like loch dhu my thoughts are being a garpenter they have overdone the use of charring the barrels i think they were looking for something different and made a mistake probably trying to make the standard mannochmorre bottling like an islay and it didnt come off what makes me luagh if its sold on ebay the sellers say its sweet and various other things but to me it tastes like charcoal thanks my idea and good night for now
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Postby lexkraai » Fri Sep 10, 2004 10:34 pm

i dont think a overdose of caramel would bring out a flavour like loch dhu


It does; try Cu Dubh, which is definitely black because of an overload of caramel (check the web-site for confirmation on that).
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Postby mortlach99 » Fri Sep 10, 2004 10:36 pm

hello again
I've been in bonds and seen barrells being decanted. The difference in colour between them can be at opposite ends of the scale. Some very pale to a nice dark colour. Hence the use of caramel.
To get the colour of Loch Dhu, to me every barrel must have had very dark whisky at the end. The odd light one would make no difference but the vast majority would have to've been black.
Could this have been possible giving the difference in other whiskies at the time of bottling :?: Possible due to double charring.Yes.
Could the spirit reach a saturation level where it could get no darker :?: Any scientists out there. I would think there is no limit.
Would a company admit to making a mistake,if this was the case, or try a marketing ploy to get rid of it. I'll let you make your minds up.
This debate will rattle round for a while I think.
Cheers everyone.
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lex

Postby richard » Sat Sep 11, 2004 8:06 am

you should read my posts properly i say what i thought youdonnt seem to get the point it is what i was told by somebody in the know somebody high up in the industry what i am saying is lochdhu to me tastes like charred wood ie double charred barrels i know caramel changes colour but if somebody try to tell me they can taste how much caramel is in loch dhu i will not take them seriuosly i dont know the co dhub web site i will look at if i can find it what seems to be forgotten i said they were double charred barrels and i was proven right something that seems to be forgotten thanks mortlach good info all the best richard
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caramel

Postby richard » Sat Sep 11, 2004 8:14 am

just off to work looked in mjim murrays book the best writer of whisky my opinion it says in his book united distillers deny caramel is the source for the darkness of lochdhu aswell as sherry casks i await your replies in about ten hours if not have a good weekendthe quote is from the complete book of whisky
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Postby Iain » Sat Sep 11, 2004 8:57 am

There are other (more independent?) views in print - eg:

""UD denied that the colour had been achieved by the intensive use of caramel and suggest the reason is the use of particularly intensively charred bourbon casks. As the whisky is 10 years old, it must have been filled into the casks in 1986, when the distillery still belonged to DCL who had a conservative reputation. It is unlikely they would have taken such an experimental approach. It is more likely to be the product of UD marketing strategists... despite all their protests to the contrary, the whisky has an intensive caramel (and liquorice) taste to it...

from Walter Schobert, The Whisk(e)y Treasury, Glasgow, 2002, p 206
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Postby lexkraai » Sat Sep 11, 2004 9:35 am

Fully agree with that assessment. Making the whisky black by using caramel can be done instantly, at the whim of marketing people spotting an opportunity in the market. Use of heavily charred barrels must have been planned at least 10 years in advance, which indeed brings it back to DCL days. What UD/Diageo denies or suggests is pretty irrelevant here.

I rest my case until further evidence emerges (if it does at all!)

Cheers, Lex
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caramel

Postby richard » Mon Sep 13, 2004 6:04 pm

i think if god told lex he would still not belive it any way looking at michael jacksons tastings notes i saw licorice but no caramel in his notes page 268 he mentions the company say it is to do with the double charring of the barrels but his guest is first a spraying and then a charring _involved caramelization his words so thst more of my heresay as lex told me over to lex
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loch dhu

Postby richard » Thu Sep 16, 2004 9:00 pm

its gone very quiet i was hoping for some reply
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