Mortlach

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: Mortlach 16 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Mortlach 16 1.jpg
ABV
43.4%
Aging
16 Years; 100% Ex-Sherry Casks
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Mortlach (Keith, Scotland)

Mortlach attempted a luxury re-brand a few years back, which failed and they are now back to age-stated releases - a 12, 16, and 20. This whisky has been matured exclusively in sherry casks, and I can’t wait to dig in.


Review (2020)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L8323DM004 00002586

  • Bottling Date: 2019

Spicy nose! Loaded with dried fruit, wood, apple, clove, cinnamon, charred oak, orange, malt – it is so savoury, like sherry reduced to a syrup with rich oxidized wine notes, spice, dried fruit, and caramel. There is such depth to this – this is fun to nose. Leather, cigars, cigar boxes, hazelnut, orange, dry topsoil, gingerbread.

On the palate, lots of oak and biscuits, vanilla, light tobacco spice, citrus, vanilla puddings (the ones that come in the individual packages like yoghurt), caramel, honey, black tea, and with a flourish of spice and wood which control the finish, but lets not forget the orange, tobacco, raisins, caramel, and old wood furniture notes (a bit like old church pews).

I love the nose. The palate is rich too, but I think at 46% or 48% it would just have a bit more edge and force and it would push it upward a welcome notch. It seems just a touch underpowered. Quite a bit better than the Rare Old, though.

Highly Recommended (50% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).
Value: Low (based on $180)


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

ABV
43.4%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
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.