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Mortlach Gordon & MacPhail

The great disappointment

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@PandemoniumReview by @Pandemonium

6th Sep 2014


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Time to try this one: Mortlach 15yo Gordon & MacPhail, a bottle that is hard to find here in Belgium, but it can easily be found in a Tesco somewhere in the Highlands. I really liked its older brother, the famous 16yo Flora & Fauna, so let's wee how this one holds up.

Nose: Malted barley, sherry, notes of milk and biscuits with a touch of spice, oak and faint hints of citrus. All this served on a powerful layer of vanilla cream.

Mouth: creamy and syrupy on the palate: with tones of biscuits and malted barley, white chocolate and raisins, shades of of nutmeg and black pepper, a dash of sherry and of course the elements of toasted oak that brings forth the dominant layers of spicy vanilla
(Luckily a drop of water removes much of the vanilla)

Finish: Medium, but smooth as butter, with notes of oak and ginger.

Conclusion: I'm not going to lie, this is not what I expected and definitely not my style. I expected more fruit and that meaty quality of Mortlach. Yes, I get some sherry notes, but I'm quite amazed that this was matured in a refill sherry cask. It has American oak written all over it. I can perfectly understand that the creamy texture and vanilla tones might appeal to a lot of people, but not me. I was quite disappointed with this whisky, probably due to my high expectations.

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Nozinan commented

I reviewed another G&M Mortlach in the spring and was similarly disappointed. Maybe it is G&M... Maybe they don't get the good casks of the stuff from the distillery.

6 years ago 0

Pandemonium commented

not sure about G&M, they made quite the name for themselves back in the day when no body was interested in single malts, but I can imagine that it must get harder and harder for independent bottlers to gain access to premium casks.

6 years ago 0

Rigmorole commented

At least it didn't taste of sulfur.

6 years ago 0

GregLogan commented

Gordon and McPhail is the problem - the simply don't know how to select good material. I recommend ADR Cask Collection - I have had great success.

5 years ago 0

Pandemonium commented

I respectfully disaggree with you sir, while G&M's low end Connoisseurs Choice and the distillery label's range have been often less than stellar, they managed to put out some real gems. They've been at this game for a long time and know what they're doing. As for AD.Rattray, they're good, but not yet at Jack Wieber, Cadenhead, BerryBros, Adelphi, Blackadder, Silver Seal or Signatory Vintage levels.

5 years ago 0

GregLogan commented


Thanks for the input. My only experience with G&M is with Connoisseurs Choice - and I was quite disappointed. You are indicating that this is their low end. What is their high end??

I have had Blackadder Legendary - and was satisfied but for a 23yo Balvenie was somewhat disappointed. I have had the Signatory Un-Chill Filtered collection. Do you consider this their ow-end - or mid-end? I have not found it to be high-end but I have found it to be generally satisfactory at a good price.

The ADR I have been having great success with is the Cask Collection. I have had a Glencadam 22 that is the best I have had - an Auch22 nearly the same - a Mortlach17 as well excellent. Is your disparagement of ADR possibly based on a different series??

Regardless, I do appreciate your comments on these various bottlers - and look forward to explore. Can you please tell me how to distinguish between their respective lo-, mid- and hi-end series??

Thanks so much,


5 years ago 0

Pandemonium commented

G&M has quite a few different ranges: the distillery labels are definitely their low end, the Connoisseurs Choice is supposedly a step up. At the other side you'll find ranges like the Reserve, Rare Vintage and The Macphail's Collection. Blackadder has it's low end with the Riverstown collection and Signatory makes a difference between the vintage collection, unchillfiltered collection and cask strength collection. etc...

Let me state clearly for the record that I have no problems with AD Rattray whatsoever.

As for the distinguishment between the hi and low end, mainly price and presentation.

5 years ago 0

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