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Mortlach 1991/2012 20 Year old Signatory

Good, pleasant stuff

0 986

@Pierre_WReview by @Pierre_W

1st Mar 2014

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  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Overall
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Mortlach was the first distillery to be built in Dufftown, in 1823, by James Findlater. It was sold on to John Robertson in 1831, and during the following years ownership changed on several occasions and the distillery even was silent for a number of years. After it had been used as a brewery for a while, Mortlach was converted back into a distillery in 1852 to produce a whisky called “The Real John Gordon” (a reference to the owner at the time). In 1923 then owner Alexander Cowie decided to sell Mortlach to John Walker & Sons, the company that became part of Distillers Company Limited (DCL) two years later. The configuration of the six stills at Mortlach is unusual and probably unique in Scotland. The 'partial triple distillation' that is used at the distillery appears to be a variation of the technique that is in use at Springbank and Benrinnes. Mortlach's floor maltings remained operational until 1968, and in 1971 the distillery switched from direct heating of the stills to indirect (steam) heating. This particular expression was distilled on 1 January 1991 and bottled by Signatory on 11 January 2012 as a 20-year old from sherry butt #7706, with the total outturn being 577 bottles.

The nose is rich and spicy, with dried fruits, peaches and orange peel all making an appearance, followed by a whiff of smoke at the end. With water it gets quite fruity, followed by raisins and some balsamic vinegar.

The palate is full-bodied and spicy. The dried fruits are back, together with coffee and hints of leather. With water the palate gets more rounded and gentle; peaches and raisins are now the dominant flavours.

The finish is long and warming, spicy and a tad smoky.

This was a solid, good Mortlach expression, not my favourite one but well balanced and a force nonetheless. As usual, a drop of water brings out the very best in Mortlach.

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9 comments

@Pandemonium
Pandemonium commented

Mortlach is one of my favorite malts from the Speyside, though I fear that the new plans of Diageo of doubling the production capacity with an extra set of stills. And the price will only go up now that they've decided to promote it as a luxurious single malt

5 years ago 0

@Pierre_W
Pierre_W commented

Same feelings here. We are all watching with apprehension what Diageo's plans to launch Mortlach as an 'official malt' will do to price and quality.

5 years ago 0

Rigmorole commented

Great review, @Pierre_W! Have you ever noticed that some Mortlachs have a bit of sulfur residue in the bottles? I've heard that can be a problem occasionally with the Mortlachs. Currently, I own (unopened) Mortlach 20 Signatory and Mortlach 22 Chieftain’s

5 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@Pierre_W, thanks for a very nice review. I've only tried two Mortlachs, but I've loved both of them, and it looks like this will be a favourite distillery for me, as long as I can avoid the sulphured bottles. I've heard that there are quite a few of those around also. I expect that I'll taste first, before buying any particular bottle of Mortlach.

5 years ago 0

@Pierre_W
Pierre_W commented

Thanks, @rigmorole. Indeed I have heard the same thing, especially concerning the 16yo Flora & Fauna series bottling. I have only had two Mortlachs so far and have not experienced any sulphur influence myself.

5 years ago 0

@Pierre_W
Pierre_W commented

@Victor, thank you for your comment. I, too, have only tried two Mortlachs so far and both were of above average quality, in my opinion. I like its powerful, almost beefy palate and the whiff of smoke that always seems to be hovering somewhere.

5 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

I would describe the Mortlach 'house style' as THICK,...dense, yes, 'beefy' and 'chewy'.

5 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

I have a "Rare Malts" bottling at 65.3%. I was hoping to find one or two to try before opening what is probably a very rare one indeed.

5 years ago 0

@Pierre_W
Pierre_W commented

@Nozinan, the Mortlach Rare Malt bottlings have an excellent reputation. Make sure to enjoy your bottle!

5 years ago 0

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