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Since Mortlach has been relaunched as a premium whisky (and thus premium prices) I prefer to look for independent bottlings. For example, the new official Mortlach 18 Year Old is more expensive than this 20 Year Old from Malts of Scotland. This one is very dark, by the way, thanks to the sherry cask on which it matured for two decades.
The nose is powerful with loads of earth and – obviously – sherry influences. I get cherries, plums and some chocolate. Umami too. You know: hearty, some gravy, broth and garden herbs. Light smoke from charred oak. Leave it to breath for five minutes and you will get a pretty sweet nose. Let me add some water now. That makes it more herbal and emphasizes the meatiness, if you know what I mean. Roast beef with thym.
It is very sweet and feisty on the palate. Red and caramelized fruit on ginger, nutmeg and a pinch of chili peppers. With the second sip, blood oranges are added. Some pear syrup. Good! With a few drops of water it becomes a lot sweeter – contrary to the nose – almost too sweet.
The finish is long and warm, leaving the mouth pretty dry – even diluted.
Unfortunately it is not very cheap. Considering that MoS released a similar Mortlach 1994 for 90 EUR in 2012, this one, three years later, now takes a 130 EUR bite of your budget. But good? Absolutely!