Review: Mortlach Rare Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

100% Malted Barley
Distiller Mortlach (Keith, Scotland)

Mortlach is a distillery which largely feeds blends for Diageo, and older bottlings of this single malt have achieved cult status. This whisky was released in 2013 as part of the continuing move of many distilleries toward trying to promote Scotch Whisky as a "luxury brand". At the same time, Diageo invested a huge chunk of money into the distillery and promoting the brand. A lot of the older, age statement brands were replaced with more expensive versions in nice packages - as Serge Valentin said: "I guess this means that a large chunk of that money will be spent on advertising and PR, and not on improving (or even maintaining) the quality of the whisky. So, more brand, less product..."

This is happening with a few Scotch brands - I don't love the move.

Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L4147DM000 02891663

  • Bottling Date: 2014

This has a complexity and uniqueness that i quite love....a bit dry and spicy, with raisins, honey, sharp apple, black pepper, and barley intermingled in as well (and, on the finish, the malt goes almost the way of a stout). Really nice subtle smoke too - though I think this would be much better at a slightly higher proof, since a light amping up of flavours would do this some good. More subtle than I expected – “the beast of Dufftown” in this case is more of a small beast. It’s not too dry – but it is just about right in my books.

Opinions seem quite mixed on this one, not sure if that is due to preference or batches.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average at $100.