Whisky Review: Hidden Spirits Mortlach 2002 Aged 17 Years

Style: Fruity and Spicy

Nose:
Begins with fragrant apricots, pineapples and tangerines, followed by delicious oat biscuits, all sweet and bright. A secondary layer of stone fruits, fruit salad taking a splash of vinegar. Spearmint shooting from the back with power, emitting a young and vibrant vibe. Blue berries, pumpkin puree, cornflakes and crème burlee forming a subtle layer. Slowly we are working towards the meatiness which is hidden very slyly right at the bottom, subtle yet distinct – mostly chicken broth and celery. Wood chips and mineral notes orbiting at the outer rim as we are coming to a close. Very nice.

Palate:
Minty spice continues to make an energetic charge while stewed fruits are swept aside and forced to play a slightly lesser role. Tropical fruits converge at the summit and beaming so positively – More pineapples, coconut jelly, paw paw and summer berries are then carried away by a strong herbal undercurrent. The malty side starts its show earlier than usual – oatmeal, carrot cake dusted with a small pinch of nutmeg and icing sugar. Barley, chocolate oak, game meat and dried mangoes circling and lingering at the back.

Finish:
Tropical fruits jelly and coconut pudding with just a small piece of peppermint leaf. Corn syrup, malt with subtle wood shavings. Sweet and cool.

Thoughts:
A rather fruit-forward Mortlach, with tropical fruits putting in a clean and extravagant performance. The expression is thoroughly sweet and vibrant, which makes me feel the spirit is reaching its peak. Meanwhile, the signature meatiness is rather subtle but adds a good depth which makes Mortlach inherently different, or better in this scenario, than most Speyside distilleries. I remember someone said Mortlach is only good in Sherry casks, and now I possess an exhibit to the contrary. Very nice.

☆ [Recommended]

[55.5% | Independently Bottling | 2002 Distilled | 2019 Bottled | Single Cask| Cask Strength | Cask Reference: MR219 | *+]

-Esmond