So I've heard a few good things about Mortlach recently. Recommendations from friends. I went to Glasgow on business and tried to hunt out a bottle of some of the recommended variations, but they didn't have what I wanted so I took a punt on this (Gordon & MacPhail bottle). And I'm pleased to say it did not disappoint.
Colour is pale amber fading into something a little darker.
Nose is at first a little soapy, but gives way to honey, toasted oak, vanilla, sherry trifle, tinned fruit cocktail, and then some spicy ginger. The sherry note is big and the vanilla oak wood really nicely balanced.
First sip is smooth, burn comes a bit later on the finish (which is spicy).
Taste is little of that soapy, washing powder (not in a bad way), nicely honeyed, big sherry, lots of fruitiness, bit of tinned syrupy fruit cocktail, vanilla, oak wood, sandalwood, yes some more of that creamy sherry trifle, caramel, citrous peel.
It also has a decent finish on it. Little soapiness, spice, ginger, vanilla oak wood.
This is a nice easy drinking whisky with soft vanilla wood, soft honey tones, but packs some immediate fruity surprises and hidden depths of flavours. As others have said, it's a good introductory whiskey but also has enough complexity and intrigue for an old hand.
Maybe I was unlucky, but the bottle I had was horribly sulphuric to the point of being un-drinkable. I know that sherry casks sometime leave a “struck match” characteristic but this was off the charts. Same experience with an old Ben Nevis too so I suspect some poor cask management was at play
@Delraiser there are examples of both clean Mortlach and horribly sulphured Mortlach. I've had both, and I am very sensitive to sulphur. In July 2019 I was overjoyed to have a lovely clean sample of OB Mortlach 12 from a brand rep. I promptly went out and bought a bottle...which was sulphured. I guess that they were serving up a better batch than what was available for sale to me. The OB Mortlach 16 yo I had that same day was fabulous. I am now quite nervous about my unopened bottle of Mortlach 16 yo that I acquired since that taste. With Mortlach if they are clean they are wonderful. But they are not always clean. Trust broken can be hard to re-build. People like absolute statements, and once and for all pronouncements about quality, but the truth is that with many brands what you get is inconsistency...sometimes very good, sometimes good, sometimes horrible.