Whisky Connosr



10 990

@RianCReview by @RianC

3rd Jun 2023


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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A delightfully received Xmas gift - although much suggestive psychology, aka nagging, was employed - was this little beauty. I've been enjoying Mortlach lots, of late, and this was a big ticket item so hopes were high.

Been open five months with just under half left. Review is with a few drops of water and sat a good forty minutes or more, and then a fresh splash on top to freshen her up :)

Nose - glorious! Savoury, sweet, herbal, spicy and fruity, but superbly balanced. Red jams, lots of umami like Bovril, miso and oyster sauce, sweet spices, touches of oak, dark chocolate and bonfire toffees (treacle).

Taste - sweet, savoury and slightly sour arrival that kind of bursts on one's tongue and then fizzes across the palate. Starts to dry as it develops with tart berry sweetness and more savoury notes. Extremely silky mouthfeel and, even neat, this baby purrs on the tongue - not a hint of sharpness.

Finish - long with pleasingly drying tannins that build as you sip. Rich, savoury notes and muted sweetness linger.

It has to be noted that, when first opened, the sherry was definitely leading the show. Still, at 19 months - post hogsheads - in a fresh oloroso butt, it's a decent amount of time to get acquainted with the malt, and air and time have worked wonders. I love this style of savoury and sweet and this pulls it off to a tee! My only quibble would be the dryness of the finish that, after a while, starts to become almost tongue nipping with its tannins. Still, a very slight complaint that is momentarily, at least, relieved by another sip. Never goes too far in any direction but always seems to slightly tug towards that savoury heart.

If only every whisky was as enjoyable as this one ...

Related Mortlach reviews


Victor commented

@RianC thank you for your affectionately-rendered review.

There are a lot of very very good Mortlachs out there.

There are some badly sulphured ones too. If you haven't yet run into any of them yet count yourself lucky!

11 months ago 1Who liked this?

RianC commented

@Victor - Thank you!

I think I'm lucky in that I'm not overly sensitive to sulphur and tend to quite enjoy those notes, If naturally occurring!

My first Mortlach was the F&F 16 tried in a bar years ago and I fell in love instantly! I'd say this edges it due to its power and richness, just about. I'm snapping Mortlachs up currently but also on the look out for any other 'meaty' drams. Benrinnes seems like a good bet as does Edradour and Craigellachie. Any others? Seems that worm tubs are, at least, in part, a cause of the phenomenon.

11 months ago 1Who liked this?

BlueNote commented

@RianC I like the sound of that one. Those Signatory people know how to pick a cask.


11 months ago 3Who liked this?

sailorman commented

@RianC, yes, Benrinnes may be in the same ballpark. The 15-year-old Flora & Fauna has a taste of bouillon cubes - not my cup of tea... oops dram of whisky... but you may find it enjoyable. Cheers!

11 months ago 2Who liked this?

RianC commented

@sailorman - Thanks!

Funnily enough that's the bottle I've been eyeing up! My only concern is that they, apparently, stopped their partial triple distillation a good few years back, so current bottling may (stress, may) not have as much of that meatiness.

I also recently bought a bottle of Worm Tub batch 2 that is rumoured to be Benrinnes (though could be Mortlach or Craigellachie) and is supposed to be chock full of meaty notes, so who knows?

11 months ago 0

MadSingleMalt commented

@RianC, so they do all double distillation now?

I don't know nuthin' about nuthin', but I would have thought less distillation = less refined spirit = MORE meaty. Not the case?

10 months ago 1Who liked this?

RianC commented

@MadSingleMalt - hi there! Long time, no see slight_smile . Good to see you back on the site!

Benrinnes stopped in 2007, I believe. I think Mortlach still do their 'unique' partial triple distillation though.

I'm no expert either, but I believe it's argued that the extra contact with copper from the worm tub condensors (post distillation) is what produces the meaty flavours. It's likely a combination of a few factors but most (in the know) seem to agree that distilleries with worm tubs all share that quality, to greater or lesser degrees. I'd wager, in Benrinne's case, that Diageo simply thought it more cost effective ...

I saw someone trying to explain Mortlach's method and got a bit lost, to be honest. It's very convoluted. My understanding of their theory is that the extra distillation of feints produces a distillate that is then 'roughed up' as it condenses, which creates the meaty notes.

Would be very interesting to try their new make to see if it's present there.

10 months ago 2Who liked this?

MadSingleMalt commented

Taste-testing Mortlach new make to see if it's meaty... NEW we're getting into some serious whisky nerdery! Please don't forget my invitation.

8 months ago 1Who liked this?

RianC commented

@MadSingleMalt - ha! I would genuinely be embarrassed saying that in most any other context but this site smile .

8 months ago 2Who liked this?