Category Archives: Mortlach

Exculsive Malts – Mortlach 17yo – 53.3% ABV


MortlachSpeyside region – 53.3%ABV – US only — Price: unknown at this point.

Day two of the Exclusive Malts reviews.

Interestingly enough, after having my little fun with the term “nut skin” yesterday, two people unsubscribed from my posts.  As sad as this is, I gained three new subscribers and a few very nice emails.

Please know that on occasion, in addition to having fun reviewing whisky, I have fun using the humor of my inner nine year old boy.  Sorry if this offends some but, hey ho, I’ll keep doing what I do and will be ever thankful for all of you out there enjoying my posts.

Speaking of “doing what I do,” I’ll move on with my review of this 17yo Mortlach:

Mortlach-1On the nose –  I’m struck first by the scents of bruised apples and apple cider vinegar.  It’s quite present and tough to get past (thankfully, I’m enjoying those notes).

Freshly kneaded dough with a high yeast content and highly sugared cereals.  Speaking of cereal, I’m reminded of a fine muesli and golden raisins, too.

Hot cinnamon and apple sauce (currently warming apple sauce).  Grilled lemons.

Mortlach-2With water it gets a bit more savory with touches of baked tomatoes.

Mortlach-3On the mouth – Thinnish mouthfeel with a keen focus on the malt character of the whisky.  Honied water and just a hint of smoke in the background.

Cracked white pepper or, is it just peppery?  Hmmm…

Mortlach-4Rubber party balloons (or balloon animals), lemon fizzy candies and well, that’s about it I’m afraid.  So far, the nose wins out.  Let me add some water to see if it opens this one up…

Water adds a great amount of texture to the mouthfeel of this whisky and begins to align the nose with the flavors.  Adding water to this whisky was a good choice.

After about 20 minutes, it now, in an odd way, reminds me of Redbreast 12yo Cask Strength.

Finish – A surprisingly long finish filled with fruits and again that touch of smoke.

In sum – While not as approachable or easily dissected as the Clynelish I reviewed yesterday, a bit of patience and water pays off.  This would be a good whisky to have as part of a tasting.  Compare this to some other Mortlachs.  It’s an odd duck out from others that I’ve had but for those up to a challenge, this can be a good dose of fun!

Mortlach Sherry butt – a meat lovers whisky

Speyside Region – 58%ABV – 70cl bottle – €85 (could not find a UK source and at 70cl rather than 750ml, you’ll never find this in the US)

First off, a special thank you to OK for this sample!

About 21 years ago, at the ripe old age of 15, I started really getting into a band from England called the Smiths.

Morrissey, the amazingly flamboyant front man of the group, had a strong effect on me as well as my other friends around the time.  It was quite amazing really.  During a Smiths concert (or Morrissey concert, when he went solo), men and women, girls and boys would throw flowers onto the stage, run up there and hug and kiss Morrissey – like he was a modern-day gay Jesus or something.  While I never threw flowers or jumped on stage to hug and kiss him I did listen to his lyrics quite attentively.  They really stuck in and made an impact on me – Come on I was an impressionable 15yr kid!!

Well, it was the 1985 album, and the title track from it, “Meat is Murder“, which started me on my vegetarian kick.

I’ve been a vegetarian ever since.  While I’m not preaching my beliefs anymore, I still keep the lifestyle and feel quite healthy for it; 21 years later.

Tasting this next whisky really brought back memories for me!  You see, before I became an herbivore, I was quite the omnivore with serious, SERIOUS carnivorous leanings.  Steak, tongue, pastrami, fish, corned beef, chicken, turkey, venison… You name it, if it was made of meat, I would eat!

As mentioned in a previous post, I am only 3 years into tasting whiskies.  This one, the Mortlach Sherry butt (tee-hee) from the C&S Dram Collection, is quite new to me.  Not just this expression or brand of whisky but more the style.  As my friend Oli from Whisky Ratings calls it, it’s the Oxtail soup style of whisky.  Perfect for a vege-ma-tarian, right??  Let’s taste!

On the nose Grandma Betty’s Passover Brisket, Beef Gravy, Fried Onions and potatoes (think home-fries at a Greek diner), daisies, dates & figs and turpentine – very drying nose

PalateTannic beyond belief! With water, french onion soup and a lot of what I got on the nosing.  A bit grassy and earthy (with the water only)

FinishLong & meaty, still drying and then, after sometime (maybe a minute or so) I get a little bit of marzipan.

John Holmes

In sum While I am amazed at what true artisans can accomplish with water, barley, a sherry butt and time, this puppy is not up my alley.  The flavors are all there.  They are just flavors I prefer not to drink.  Not because it’s so meaty and I’m a vegetarian.  I loved and miss the taste of meats I just would never drink my meat.