Independent Bottler

Review: Mortlach 22 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky (Single Malts of Scotland) by Jason Hambrey

Mortlach 22 Year Old 1.jpg
ABV
54.2%
Aging
22 Years; Ex-Sherry Cask
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Mortlach (Keith, Scotland)

Another cask strength bottling of an old Mortlach – some of these casks are just amazing. I co-bought this with a number of friends for $270 to get a glimpse of another “too-expensive-for-a-bottle-but-i-still-want-a-taste” bottle. This whisky is produced by Elixir distillers, who are also behind the wonderful Elements of Islay series. $270 is a lot cheaper than the prices of the special release Diageo Mortlachs, and there are still some real gems coming from independent bottlers.


Review (2020)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2019

On the nose, quite reminiscent of the 16 year old which I quite like. A very winey nose. Bright orange, slight sulphur, baking spice, and loads of beefy notes. Lots of orange…a bit suprising, but it works really well with the baking spice. Quite an interesting nose indeed – we have cucumber in the mix! It all works together.

The palate is rich, nutty, and oaky, with a decent amount of rancio notes and a long sherry finish. Very savoury. Otherwise, it isn’t too dissimilar from the nose other than a bigger sherry kick.

I’m not sure that I like it much more than the new 16 year old, at the same strength. But this one wins out slightly given the richer and longer finish (aided by the higher ABV) and a greater amount of uniqueness.

Very Highly Recommended (18% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Very low, at $270.


Review: Caperdonach 1968 37 Year Old Single Grain Scotch Whisky (Duncan Taylor) by Jason Hambrey

Caperdonich+1969+37+YO+Duncan+Taylor.jpg
ABV
40.6%
Aging
37 years
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Caperdonich (Rothes, Scotland)

This comes from Duncan Taylor’s Lonach range, which is a label created for whiskies which are approaching ABV levels below 40% due to the evaporation through the barrel (in humid climates, more alcohol evaporates through the barrels than water, thus, the alcoholic percentage drops with age). Thus, this is only 40.6% but it is a cask strength whisky!

The distillery itself was built in 1898 by the founders of Glen Grant, even going by “Glen Grant #2”, but closed after four years of operation until 1965 when it operated until 2002. The distillery is closed now.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2007

The nose has dried mushrooms, fruit, toffee – very similar in profile to many of the older Scotch distillates I’ve tasted with the earthiness and almost a slight musty woodiness. The palate is very sweet, with loads of fruit – but contrasted with nice, dry barley and a finish which builds into earthy notes. Also, there’s a nice mineral thread throughout. The finish is sweet, rich, and dry – with just beautiful sweet, oaky barley. Quite long, too. It does well – even after 37 years, it’s not over-oaked.

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

Value: N/A


Review: Caledonian 40 Year Old 1976 Single Grain Scotch Whisky (Douglas Laing XOP) by Jason Hambrey

Caledonian 40 Douglas Laing XOP.jpg
ABV
55.1%
Aging
40 Years; Refill Hogshead
Recipe
N/A
Distiller Caledonian (Edinburgh, Scotland)

Caledonian distillery was once the largest distillery in Scotland, and at one time made an Irish style whisky from pot stills. The distillery was closed in 1988 due to market consolidation, but there are still some older bottlings hanging about…


Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2016

The nose is very oaky, but not in the style of a bourbon. It is richly oaky, with vanilla and baking spice – and lots of clean oak. Very deep. The palate continues to be rich, with loads of blueberry and rich old whisky notes like leather. It’s a bit sweet. The finish is deep and oaky, with more blueberry and vanilla, baked apple, and woody spice.

Very Highly Recommended (18% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher). I do quite like this style of whisky, and this one is classic in that respect and is similar to a lot of the old Canadian corn whiskies. But, if you don’t like lighter and sweeter whiskies – this won’t be your style.

Value: N/A


Review: Inverleven Lowland 1990 Single Malt Scotch Whisky (Gordon & MacPhail) by Jason Hambrey

Inverleven 1990.jpg
ABV
40%
Aging
15 Years
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Inverleven (Dumbarton, Scotland)

This distillery was once known as Dumbarton and was a massive distillery complex which fed the Ballantines blends. It still distills grain whisky for ballantines, but, at one time, it had a pot still and a lomond still which produced single malt. However, the distillery stopped making malt whisky in 1991, so this is right near the end of that production.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2005

The nose has dry malt, apple, vanilla, and a bright earthiness (like a hardwood forest in the summer). The palate is dry, light, sweet, and soft – with lots of pepper and fruit. The finish has lots of earthy barley, with some British bitter style hops (like east kent goldings) and dried fruit take the finish. The oak really builds towards the finish.

Quite good, but nothing spectacular.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: N/A


Review: Caol Ila 2006 Aged 12 Years (Signatory Vintage Cask Strength) by Jason Hambrey

Caol Ila Signatory Vintage 2006 (2).jpg
ABV
56.7%
Aging
12 years; refill hogshead
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Caol Ila (Port Askaig, Scotland)

Another Signatory Caol Ila, this time a cask strength 12 year old matured in a hogshead - 246 bottles produced.


Review (2020)

  • Batch: Cask 311566

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2019

Intense marine notes, dried fruit notes, light sherry notes (oxidized wine), smoking leaves, decomposing vegetation, cowlicks, rockpools, preserved lemon, peach jam, blanched almonds, and even some thyme. With time, dried fruit, in growing proportion. The palate is smoky, earthy, and with some more mineral notes, molasses, and dark chocolate. Some macadamia nuts, darkly roasted almonds, and black pepper, too. And – a bit of intense dried floral notes (lavender). The finish is rich, earthy, and peaty – with the mineral character coming through still and a bit of oxidized wine. It has an enduring dryness to it.  Excellent stuff, it really is.
Takes water very well.


Very Highly Recommended (19% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).
Value:
Low, based on $153.