Provenance: Speyside (Scotland)
Typology: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing barrels: Ex-Sherry First Fill and Refill
Additional coloring: Yes
Average price: € 260,00
Official website: www.malts.com/en-row/brands/mortlach
In July 2018, Mortlach, nicknamed, as it says on the label, “The beast of Dufftown”, proceeded to completely reformulate its core range, replacing the Rare Old, Special Strength, 18yo and 25yo, with a 12yo (“The Wee Witchie”), a 16yo (“The Distiller’s Dram”), both already reviewed on the blog, and a 20yo.
Today we are lucky enough to be able to taste the latter, renamed ‘Cowie’s blue seal’ (George Cowie is the Master Distiller).
One of Mortlach’s special features is the 2.81 distillation. This is a system patented in 1896 and based – simplifying the explanation as much as possible – on the use of stills of different shapes and sizes. The result is one of the most elegant, complex, sought-after and expensive whiskies of the Speyside. Expectations, therefore, are high.
Aged entirely in American oak casks ex-Sherry First Fill and Refill, this 20yo, offered in 4,358 bottles at Mortlach’s specific gradation of 43.4% ABV, has not been chillfiltered.
The colour is a warm gold tending towards amber.
As you approach the glass, the first thing that comes to mind is macafame, a traditional Vicenza cake also known as putana (strictly with only one “t”), made with apples, sultanas, pine nuts and icing sugar. On an almost marsalate base, citrus notes of mandarin and candied orange are accompanied by a fragrance of pear and an impression of jasmine, with a decisive spicy note of cloves. After a few minutes, the marsalate background grows in depth along with the tangerine note, while a hint of white chocolate blossoms.
On the palate, the body of the whisky is a soft caress of sweet mandarin, pear and sultanas, with a sprinkling of cloves. A mouth-watering dark chocolate embraces the whole to guide it towards a medium-long finish, pleasantly citrusy and not overly spicy.
A whisky worthy of Mortlach’s reputation, rich in nuances and with a masterful layering of aromas. An extremely satisfying Winter dram that may empty your wallet, but certainly warms throat and heart.