Origin: Speyside (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing casks: Ex-Bourbon, virgin, tawny port and red muscat
Additional coloring: No
Average price: € 300.00
Official website: www.malts.com
Let’s talk about the
elephant owl in the room straight away: such a high price for a NAS is definitely a gamble, and even if it’s a generally not-quite-cheap whisky like Mortlach, it’s hard to justify such a hefty outlay for a bottle with no stated age.
But everyone knows how deep it’s their wallet and decides what is and isn’t worth their money, so we look at what’s in the glass in this latest Elusive Expressions, Diageo’s Special Releases 2022, which features some decidedly reckless refinements.
On a night when the moon turned blood red, the Beast of Dufftown (as Mortlach is affectionately known) transformed under the blood glow into the nocturnal bird and soared through the sky, a mythical creature drawn upwards by the hypnotic crimson orb. In the depths of Mortlach’s alembics, the influence of the blood moon resonated, its seductive ruby richness and dark complexity transforming Mortlach himself with a rare and bewitching nature.
Or so they say.
Although the influence of the wines is clearly evident, the fleshy nature of Mortlach still manages to emerge on the nose, with the boiled meat subtended between berries (currants, blueberries), biscuits with butter and honey, citrus fruits. In the long run, the fruity impression slides towards the mustard, which in fact is perfect with boiled meat, together with a pinch of anise and oregano with a persistent fatty base note, between butter and wax. Curious.
On the palate the sweet tones rise, effectively making the fleshy component disappear in favor of an emerging vegetable note, with red fruits declined in cherry, raspberry and currant accompanied by cooked apple, blood orange, spices (anise, ginger, cinnamon ), a hint of cocoa, celery and a discreet astringency. Saline tip in length.
Medium long and astringent finish, of cooked apple, spices, vegetable stock cube.
I remain quite perplexed in the face of this whisky, where the refinements did not mess up but neither did they give it that spark of depth to justify their presence. A pleasant dram with some pleasant surprises but not unforgettable.