Whisky Connosr

Mortlach 16 Year Old

Yet Another Review Tonight...

0 683

@talexanderReview by @talexander

16th Feb 2013


Mortlach 16 Year Old
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Well, I'm on a roll tonight. My friend was sick so my going-out plans turned into staying-in plans. So I'm on my third review tonight, burning through some samples that I have on hand. The last two were both matured in what I am sure are second- and third-fill bourbon casks, so I'm changing it up with this sherried classic: the 16 Year Old Flora & Fauna Mortlach (which I've never tried before). This sample came to me courtesy of Richard Culver.

James Findlater became the first licensed distiller in Dufftown in 1823. Of course, many more distilleries popped up in Dufftown, and in Speyside as a whole, over the course of the next hundred-or-so years. It is used a lot in Johnnie Walker (having been owned by Diageo since 1925, when they were called DCL), which you can tell right off the bat when you sample it - hence the few single malt bottlings available. In fact, would you believe that the first single malt bottling was not until 1995 (Rare Malt 22 Year Old)?

One of the unique features of the distillery is that 1/5 of the spirit is triple-distilled in an intermediate still called "Wee Witchie" (I see a whisky-horror-movie script in the making...) This, combined with the traditional worm tub condensers and the sherry cask influence, creates a very old-fashioned style of whisky.

The colour is ruby copper, as befits the cask; the nose is faintly herbal, with more subtlety than I was expecting: stewed prunes, raspberries, red wine (I don't know enough about wine to be more specific) - nicely sherried. A trace of sulphur which, on the nose, isn't too bad. A little water brings out some raisin and brown sugar - sort of like a sugar pie.

The palate is less subtle: rich, meaty, berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries), more oak than on the nose. Savoury herbs like oregano and thyme. Very rich mouthfeel. More sulphur here...but water brings out the cinnamon, allspice and baked apple. Powerful and filling - very big, chocolatey and bursting with flavour...almost too much flavour...

The finish is long but not overpowering, with red liquorice and some oakiness. A little mouthdrying. This is an iconic whisky, to be sure, perfectly capturing that old-style sherried character. I understand why Mortlach fanatics are Mortlach fanatics - if it is not fully to my taste, then that speaks more to the versatility of whisky and the various styles and attractions, than anything else - and the Mortlach style is not one I gravitate to. But I definitely appreciate it - and this one is better than the independent bottlings I've had before. But this will never be a go-to distillery for me. Which hasn't stopped me from pouring myself a second dram...

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Rigmorole commented

This bottle costs $108 in Oregon. Sounds like it's not worth it. 83 is a pretty low mark, at least in my book. Thanks for the review, Tal. I've never tasted a Mortlach before.

Still, I like the name. Just for fun, I was calling my dog "Mortlach" a few days ago because it's such a unique sounding word, like something out of Lord of the Rings:

Frodo: [Examining the ring] Wait... there are markings. It's some form of Elvish, I can't read it. Gandalf: There are few who can. The language is the that of Mortlach, which I will not utter here.

11 years ago 0

talexander commented

Ha ha! Hilarious. Well, you should try it, people LOVE Mortlach, don't take my word for it.

Also, I have it an 83 which is not bad - in high school, that's an A-. And my disclaimer is, it's not to my taste but I appreciate it's complexity and flavour profile....


11 years ago 0

Rigmorole commented

Tasted this one last night at a pub down in Oregon City. It's a real chimera, to be sure. The nose and palette kept changing in the glass as time wore on. Very strange. Would be fun at a whisky tasting. As for a bottle purchase, I'll hold off at $108. Not worth it. Thanks for the review, Tal.

11 years ago 0

Jules commented

I'm in two minds as whether to get this - one the one hand it sounds like it's right up my alley (love Glenfarclas 15 and i've heard it shares similarities), but on the other hand it's going for a cool 100$US, for which I can get plenty of other, more sure-fire winners...

10 years ago 0

talexander commented

@Jules, yes I prefer the 'Farclas 15 - but if you like sherried malts, you won't go wrong with this Mortlach - which would make a great Christmas dinner dram!

10 years ago 0

Victor commented

Very interesting review, @talexander. Those of us who are more sulphur sensitive, like I am, will definitely sample a malt like this one before considering a purchase. I like my sherried malts to have a very clean sherry,...though I do like Bowmore Darkest, which is murky as hell. Sulphured and overly tannic sherries just don't do it for me in a malt whisky.

10 years ago 0