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Mortlach Rare Old

Average score from 3 reviews and 3 ratings 84

Mortlach Rare Old

Product details

  • Brand: Mortlach
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 43.4%

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Mortlach Rare Old

Early May I was invited to the Mortlach Benelux Release Dinner in Brussels where I, along with about 40 other invitees, were introduced to the new range under the skillful guidance of the lovely Georgie Bell. Six weeks later a box was delivered containing samples of the tried expressions so I could re-taste them in the serenity of my whisky basement. Time to try the Rare Old, 18 Year Old and 25 Year Old again, starting with the Rare Old. If I understood Georgie correctly, three types of spirit were used (delicate, medium and meaty) as well as different types of wood: first fill American and European oak as well as refill and rejuvenated casks.

The first time I put my nose in the glass I get mostly sweet malt with loads of floral elements. Think grain cookies, sultanas and a hint of sniffing tobacco. Some earthy notes which are quite common in Mortlach. Light butter. Some bergamot oil and vanilla. Lastly some oak. Pleasant enough nose.

The kick to the teeth upon arrival is quite suprising. Plenty of spices: pepper, cinnamon and some ginger. The sweetness comes from honey and sultanas, but also some orange peel. Touch of leather. Turns a bit dry. The vanilla evolves towards caramel. After the pleasant nose, I had expected a bit more to be honest.

The finish is medium long on spices from the wood with some sweet caramel at the death.

A bit of a brute, this Rare Old. You have to like this type of malt, I guess. I do, which makes it worth my while. But once you realize a 50cl bottle will set you back about 70 EUR, you do raise your eyebrows for a moment.


This Mortlach is very good and I tasted it against two somewhat cheaper favourites of mine. It tastes Speyside.I should test it up against the Balvenie doublewood. Its kind of similar.It is a bit oaky, and there are some sherry. Rounded in a fine way. A hint of etanol coming through. The auchentoshan 3wood is a bit sharper and and more sherry and sugarperfumed. More honey in the Mortlach. More oak and sherry in the Auchentoshan. These are reallly good, but I like the Ardbeg 10 even more, because its rounder and softer. I am a real softdrink fan. Guess what. I will never ever buy one more botttle of this Mortlach.It is a super dram, but pricewise it can not compete with the chaper Auchentoshan three wood and the ardbeg 10, which gives me the same amount of pleasure. But this Mortlach is indeed very good. More honey than the other two. The very soft Ardbeg 10 gives me more of the marsh and the peat , in a very soft and pleasing way. Auchentoshan three wood is one of the best cherrygardenexperiences ever, but probably not as much as thoe made in Taiwan.

My recommandation. If you want the sherrygarden scent, the auchentoshan three wood is very well smelling, and if you wanthe soft mars peat, the ardbeg 10 is fantastic (maybe slightly less fantastic than the corryvreckan)

To billionaires i will recommend the Mortlach. It is to pricey, but it is really worth a taste to them that dont care about some money. It id different to these other two fine rams, and it is pleasing.

THE ARDBEG 10 IS THE OVERALL WINNER. It is at least the same quality of experience , and it is the chepest of those three. The other two are different, and that is their main advntages.

I added a couple of drops of highland norweigian wellwater two all those drams.

The biggest drawbacks with the Mortlach rare old is the price and a little more etanolscent than I prefer. do not concider that its more worth than the two tóther drams. But its a very fine oaky honey thing. Fantastic for honey lovers, and its very soft fine and round.

I do consider the Mortlach Rare Old common young whiskey to be very good, and would bought it if the price were at the same level as Bushmills Black Bush. But I can get ca 900ml Black Bush for the price of 500 ml Mortlach. I also think that the Rare OLD is very fine wrapped, and easy to drink. Maybe I generally rates whisky to high, but I dont find much negative about this pleasing dram. Only slightly too much etanolsmell. The false colour doesnt bother me, because I dont think that sugarcolor added makes it to sweet. The price is its problem. NAS means that the youngest part of this bottle might be 3 years and a day, and it can not compete with the best of more matured and less diluted whiskys. The chillfiltration, what is the problem with that? I couldnt find anything bad. It is a fine honeyoakwhisky, and should be very good for honeylovers. About NAS, I really love two NAS-bottles. The Ardbeg Corryvreckan and the Glenlivet Nadurra (white-oakversion), which both are bottled at cask strenght. I think the Corryvreckan is better than the Ardbeg 10, but will taste them side by side soon. The Mortlach is better than mediocre NAS. I tasted a lot NAS at a whiskyfestival, and the Mortlach was clearly in the upper half, and actually so good that I bought a bottle.

Chill filtration can remove a lot of good elements I the mouthfeel and affect the flavour. There is no reason for it other than to prevent the whisky going cloudy when diluted below 46%.

So it is a branded whisky, and its marketing drives up the price of other whiskies as does the overall NAS trend.


This is a beautifully packaged box and bottle. Diageo are throwing money are Mortlach as a distillery and brand and aesthetically it is money well spent.

However, I don't think it is very rare or very old. The fact it is an NAS makes the “old” part of the name seem like pure marketing BS. Also, it doesn't seem very rare as you can pick it up from almost all retailers and to my knowledge it is not a limited run.

As you can tell beside the fact it is extremely well packaged (which I like) I do find the marketing schizzle of “super premium” “rare” and “old” just a bit too much.

So, now for the important part...the whisky.

This is bottled at 43.4% ABV and is a vibrant honeyed gold colour. The nose is soft, sweet dark fruits, honey, vanilla, dry sherry and a whiff of dry spices. It smells sweet and it very pleasant. It makes you think that this will be very drinkable.

Palate – The nose was correct about the softness. It is silky and soft in the mouth but moves through the sweetness to a peppery and spicy bite. Still fruity but turning woody as the sweetness fades.

Finish is medium long and the sweetness goes leaving spices, pepper, oak and a slightly drying oak. Oddly it is mouth watering which contradicts the oak and pepper bite but shows the sweetness doesn’t entirely disappear.

Do not add water. Really, just don't. It ruins the nose which is the highlight of this single malt. It reduces the sweetness and accentuates the oak and pepper.

Oddly I liked this less the more I drank. First impressions were good but the pleasure of simplicity gave way to less enjoyable characteristics dominating. I like interesting drinks and this is interesting but it just misses the mark of being top draw.

Worth trying, don't get me wrong, I do like it but i feel let down. It looks AMAZING so my expectations from that and the lovely nose were then brought back to earth my the palate which was good but the finish let it down.

Your eyes can deceive you....don't trust them. Looks good but it teases you making you think it will be good.

As for rare...Glen Breton 10 YO calls itself "rare". It's neither rare nor good...

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