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Mortlach 15 Year Old

Average score from 6 reviews and 23 ratings 85

Mortlach 15 Year Old

Product details

  • Brand: Mortlach
  • Bottler: Gordon & MacPhail
  • ABV: 43.0%

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Mortlach 15 Year Old

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.


My first attempt at writing a Whiskey review. I am revisiting a Gordon and MacPhail bottling of Mortlach 15 yo. The 750 ml bottle is about 1/3 left, been open for about 16 months. I wonder how the oxygen has interacted with the spirit if at all.

Nice legs clinging. Tawny Port, slightly oxidized wine, hints of freshly opened container of raisins. Tossed hay, fresh milled wheat.

Tastes like grains of wheat, citrus, ripe pear, pine needles, nice mouth-feel and the whiskey is lively. A lot happening with this whiskey on the palate- Tasty.

The finish is not as lingering as the mouth-feel promised.

I would like to revisit this whiskey another time, if only to test the theory of oxidation. This whiskey as tasted was enjoyable, though a bit disconcerting as to me it lacked balance.


One of the most well-balanced whiskies I've tasted, Mortlach 15 yo (Gordon & MacPhail bottling) is kind enough for the novice, yet full-bodied and layered enough for the most demanding anorak. From nose to finish, it's a winner in every department.

Nose: Very malty at every stage, whether straight from the bottle or after 30 minutes of opening up. Also plenty of sherry, apples, sour citrus, vanilla, cake, and tiny dashes of just about everything on the spice rack. The only slight negative in the entire experience is a teensy trace of dust that emerges from time to time. But it's usually well-hidden by the many other delights.

Taste: Delicate -- almost fragile, in fact, as it opens up -- but so well-rounded and layered. Nothing screams; everything is whispered, yet there's so much going on that the total effect is as rich as it is cloud-light. Malt, sherry, vanilla, toasted wood, caramel, raisins, slight meat notes, a hint of milk chocolate, and I think I get a touch of spearmint in the finish. The arrival is a bit neutral, but the development reveals countless delights the longer you chew it. Finish is as smooth as butter on silk, and as satisfying as Grandma's Christmas dinner.

I've rated only two other whiskies in my cabinet as high as this one, and I would have awarded this an extra point or two were it not for one puzzling factor: why is my bottle at 40% ABV when it seems to be widely available at 43%? (I might have scored it even higher had it been at least 46%!)

@rigmorole -- yeow, that's about $30 more than what I paid for it. It seems to be an expression well-liked by most reviewers, although some don't rate it nearly as highly as I do. Dave Broom, for instance, has some nice things to say about it here (scroll down to the last review):


...but he gives it only an 82.

Personally, I don't buy $100+ whiskies unless I can sample them first. I'd suggest shopping around. It's widely available at about $79 at many locations. As much as I like it, I'd have to think twice about replacing my bottle for $108. Too much for a 15 yo, low ABV whisky, IMO.

Update, ten months on: Either my bottle has flattened out a bit, or I now demand much more to be impressed by a 40% ABV malt. It's still an excellent dram, and I still get most of the same aromas and flavors, but it seems more anemic and watery. Do not allow water anywhere near the vicinity of this whisky. The tasting notes in my original review stand, but ignore all hyperbole. Updated score: 91.


After failing to act in time and buy this for $60 at Total Wine my curiosity got the best of me and I resorted to buying it for $80 at Hi Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa. This is the first Mortlach I've ever had. I've wanted to try it as I'd heard it was an above average Speyside and seeing as how it is hard to find outside Scotland I figured I should pick this Gordon and MacPhail bottle up while I had the chance.

I am more of an Islay fan but this is a nice change of pace. After many of the last bottles I've bought packing attacks of peat this is a nice reminder that not all Scotch should be like that. Though it's not quite worth the price, I think this is a much better alternative to the standard Macs and Glens of the world. I smell faintly citrus and honey in the glass and when tasting it, it is succulently sweet with a rich and beefy body. It is far from a sherry bomb though. There is great balance. There is some bitter (I use that word in a positive sense) wood, some sea salt and more orange in the background. The finish becomes dry with more orange and even lemon coming in which separates it from the standard Speyside malt.

It was pricey but a nice reminder to Islay lovers that there are other types of whisky out there. To me it rivals the simultaneous sweet and dry complexity of Yamazaki 18. I think it is definitely worth a try but only if you're very curious and cannot be satisfied by only reading a review. There are better values out there, but having said that, I think it is much better than Macallan, Glenlivet, and even Cragganmore and Aberlour (excluding A'Bunadh of course).

nice review... I've been drinking this for a year now and love it... I've just bought a bottle of the 21 yo from the same bottler G&M and it is superb.. highly recommended... lighter but sweeter and spicier.. will be reviewing soon... Mortlach is a great Whisky... truly unique in my opinion


I've been meaning to try Mortlach for some time.... this Gordon and Macphail 15 yo is outstanding, vanilla, fruit and light oak on the nose then the most delightful truffle-oil arrival, delicately smooth sherry fruitiness and light oak and hint of ginger finish.. I found myself cradling the glass without realizing it... like a long lost friend...

I am looking forward to exploring this range further: Both The Signatory 19 yo at 46% and 57%/cask strength look interesting and are available as does the 16yo flora and fauna offering. I also tried a 15yo 'Black Watch' minature, again a distinctive and unique flavor never seen this before.. Am going to keep a spare bottle of this G&M 15yo stashed away for the future. Any more suggestions for this brand would be most welcome.

Gentlemen. Your glowing reviews inspired me to pick up a bottle. The LCBO in Ontario, Canada has brought in a few bottles and it would appear I'm one of the lucky ones to get one. Thanks for the notes, and I look forward to opening it soon.


I had popped into the St George's Distillery in Norfolk on the off chance of picking up another bottle of their chapter 6 to send to my friend in Japan.

The cupboard was bare and following my policy of never leaving a whisky establishment without buying a bottle this 15 year old Mortlach found a new home.

I love Macallan and Glenfarclas and was therefore very excited about trying my first Mortlach.

The nose is a delight with orange peel and fresh tomatoes hitting my nostrils before a hint of leather and then that gorgeous sherry kicked in.

The taste is all sweetness with rich sherry and golden syrup followed by a hint of spice.

The spicy note continues on the finish with a little smokiness in the background.

I would certainly recommend this very well priced speysider particular to those that like their sherried malts.

Another trip to St George's beckons (and not for the chapter 6!)

I am yet to try any Mortlach (I've yet to find anyone selling it here in Australia), but this certainly whet my appetite.

following my policy of never leaving a whisky establishment without buying a bottle Leading a principled life is tough ;-)

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