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

Dram Review: Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice Mortlach 1988 (Batch No. 18/068)

[48.8%・30 Years Old・Distilled in 1988・Bottled in 2018・Gordon & MacPhail Bottling・Limited Release of 129 Bottles]

Nose:

Quite fascinatingly tropical, dried mangos, dehydrated bananas, passionfruit sauce and can pineapples held together by a rice paper dryness.  The dram slowly opens up to aromas of natural barley sweetness.  Golden honey drizzled atop of granola and caramelised almonds with just a brush of ginger syrup.

Palate & Finish:

Wonderfully honey driven, with a whole lot of tropical fruits joining in as well, pineapples in particular, spices raining down as the oak cuts in, melting into the malt and bringing a certain umami note to things.  An earthy burnt toast note appears on the mid-palate.

There is a return of fruits in the finish, along with an egg tart creaminess, the cereal note goes on, now with some menthol and ginger infused walnut bread.

Thoughts:

Really a clean and pure dram, I really appreciate how cask influence supports the malt.

The dryness from the oak pulls the fruits back and tighten the delivery, for better and for worse.

The juxtaposition of  fruitiness and woodiness makes for a really complex experience, close to scoring two stars..

☆ [Recommended]

Cheers to the team at Gordon & MacPhail for the sample, it’s much appreciated.

Photo credit: Gordon & MacPhail

Nicholas

Whisky Review: SMWS 76.130 Mortlach ‘Forever Young!’

Style: Vibrant, Fruity and Complex

Nose:

Refreshing on the nose, hmmm, a lighter and greener Mortlach than usual, especially for a 28 years old. Forest breeze, pine cone, a hint of saffron, leather gently wrapping around baked fruits – more on peaches and tropical fruits. Jell-O floating on top, while coffee beans sitting underneath with roasted malt. Nice and crisp.

Palate:

The vibrant, glowing rhythm carries on. Fruitiness flourishes beautifully, chocolate peach tarts drizzled with Crème de menthe. Green pine hitting the high notes, fresh oak kicks in, followed by an intricate blend of almond cornflakes, leather, tropical fruits and golden malt. A rewarding taste of Panna Cotta at the back, yum yum, delicious.

Finish:

Reminiscence of stewed fruits and chocolate chip cookies with a final touch of fresh oak.

Thoughts:

This is a pretty special – a very vibrant, crisp Mortlach but at the same time it is showing some well-aged elements. Forever young indeed. Exquisite, silky fruity core building on a bright herbal backbone and oaky notes embedded within. Talking about a broad-spectrum whisky, delicious and complex. Close to two stars.

[Recommended] 

[53.0% • Independent Bottling • 1987 Distilled • Aged 28 Years • Single Cask • Cask Strength • Non Chill Filtered • Non Coloured • Aged 18 Years • Matured in Ex-Bourbon Cask • *+]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: Silver Seal “Whisky is Nature” Series Mortlach 1989 25 Years Old

Style: Fruity and Musky

Nose:
Lively fragrant duet playing on the nose – Immensely sweet, creamy and musky on one side and the drier, dusty and grassy tone on the other side performing simultaneously. You hear solo movements from each side at times, but they combine together from time to time as well. Summer berries with slight tartness, cream tart and dry chilli spice with herbal overtone.

Palate:
Bountiful fruits lunging onto the palate. More summer berries, orchard fruits, peachy stone fruits decorating on a citrus lemon custard cake. Subtle, but heavy meatiness of Mortlach softens overtime, sink downwards to form a subtle liquorice roots undertone. Sweet herbal touches lit up by chilli spices. Creamy texture, bitter oak, walnuts cut in and dominate. Ends with a mineral flick.

Finish:
Red liquorice, dry spices tattering. Serving a light breakfast of cornflakes, apple and peach yoghurt.

Thoughts: [06/09/2017]
This whisky did not leave the best impression on me at first as I (maybe some of you will) thought it was too bitter to my liking. But it performs much better on a nuanced level. Complex fruitiness nicely supported by a refined, meaty core. A beautiful, tamed kitty this is.

Thoughts II: [Updated on 26/12/2017]
I have posted this review before and I have revisited it today before putting this up. After a couple of drams, I am starting to see what a beautiful and refined Mortlach this is, alas, still a bit bitter for me. Bright, fruity notes enhanced by the polished meaty core, while subtle elements finding ample spaces to shine. Very nice. Close to 2 stars…

☆ [Recommended]

[52.4% • 2015 Bottled • 1989 Distilled • Independent Bottling • Single Cask • Cask Strength • Non Coloured • Non Chill Filtered • 225 of 480 Bottles • Cask Number 3911 • *+]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: Gordon & MacPhail Mortlach 15 Years Old

Style: Sweet and Complex

Nose:

Big trademark meaty aroma up front, red grapes filled the body quickly and then we have some dense cereal notes with a hint of salted caramel troops in, delicious scent of oven-baked potatoes at the back.

Palate:

Sherry glistering gracefully on the first touch, honey, aloe vera, chocolate malt and smoke. More cereal notes flow in with a touch of coconut cream. Semi-dry flavours unfurling, honey comb, orange, coconut shred and slightly spiced with pepper roll on lazily. Sweeter notes awakens and recoup towards the end, signing off with lovely marzipan and cherry jello.

Finish:

A nice sherry malty smile. Gentle, delightful and warming finish.

Thoughts:

Here we are, the beast of Dufftown! Incredible aroma which is so impressively complex and dense. Malts lying beautifully underneath while enabling the tasty sherry do its magic. Great balance, great flavour, great whisky.

☆ [Recommended]

[43% • 2012 • Independent Bottling • Non Coloured • Non Chill Filtered • Limited Release • *]

-Esmond

 

Dram Review: Three Rivers Tokyo Mortlach Aged 19 Years “The Dance”

[56.4%・19 Years Old・Distilled in 1995・Bottled in 2015・Three Rivers Tokyo Bottling・Single Cask Release of 242 Bottles]

Nose:

Nash pears coated in toffee sauce.  It has a creamy velvety vibe.  There is a hint of savoury note, partly from the wee smoke and a cooper coin note on the back end.

Palate & Finish:

The malty entry makes quite an impression, the natural sweetness from ripe tropical fruits oozes out in time with a sprinkle of hot chilli spices and the wood chiming in.  The delivery is elongated and it grows even sweeter in time with the creaminess from the barley supplementing.

The floral and malty notes provide for a finish that’s rich in barley sugar and dried apricots.  Just a lace of smoke to wrap things to a close.

Thoughts:

I am not used to a Mortlach being so elegant, it’s on the sweet side yet it still captures the distillery’s characters and they are well integrated to the dram.

-Nicholas

 

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Whisky Review: Cadenhead Small Batch Mortlach Aged 20 Years

 

Nose:

The journey begins with delightful waxy honeycomb and caramel notes. Juicy oranges meshes with light vanilla cream, tropical fruits and violets humming softly from behind. Summer Piña Colada. Not exactly heavy on the nose but the sweet fragrance is pleasantly robust.

Palate:

The palate starts from liquid floral honey and proceeds to the fragrance of dried barley shell, some milkiness along the way plus a touch of orange peel and tropical fruits. Soft oak gets in touch for a moment and left behind a lovely buttery texture to enjoy.

Finish:

An elusive finishing – it is there then it is not there but it is there… Mirages of tropical fruits, spice malt and vanilla blinks in and out, but the salivating sweetness is very real and persistent. Found the most delicate oak and malt in here, indulging finish.

Thoughts:

Really, really enjoyable dram. More so when I sat down seriously, taste and jolt down notes. Delicate and sweet notes which are crafted to punch and unleashed in such a powerful style. Clean and unique flavours presented with good strength. I have done this review earlier than I have planned because guys from the Oak Barrel wanted to know how does this go. This Cadenhead delivered just the right stuff. Top dram!

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

[53.4% • 2015 • Independent Bottling • Non Coloured • Non Chill Filtered • Cask Strength]

-Esmond