Mortlach 15 (Gordon & MacPhail)


Thanks to /u/Schockwaves for this sample

So close to 500 Scotch reviews. But why aren’t I reviewing something ridiculous, like a ex-Arrack cask Scotch that was aged in the Hebrides after having cherrywood smoke used to dry the malt.

But let’s get away from my insane fever dream of a whisky and get to why, oh why, I chose to review Mortlach 15 (Gordon & MacPhail) so close to my milestone reviews?

Normally I do review a lot of high ends whiskies when I come close to my divisible by 100 review numbers.

However in the past few years I kept swapping for a variety of samples. Some I planned to do large multi reviews. Some I wanted to do by themselves.

None the less, I ended up with about 200 minis that needed to be done. My wife, who is ever so patient, explained I may want to catch up.

To help this out, I resorted my entire collection in an order of groups of similar whiskies, trying to make it so I went through highs and lows.

And as the smart person who understands and loves numbers, I of course completely disregarded which ones would be my milestone whiskies.

That’s not to say that Mortlach 15 (Gordon & Macphail) isn’t a special dram. This whisky is bottled by Gordon & MacPhail and was the closest thing you could get to an OB Mortlach for awhile.

And what an interesting dram. It’s aged in refill and first fill sherry casks. There’s talk that Mortlach specifically gave G&M the rights to sell it. The bottles themselves look very different than the stag headed bottling that G&M does.

And now that Mortlach’s are quite pricey to try, it’s interesting to see one that wasn’t that expensive and try it.

Also I couldn’t get to any other samples. So… that’s why.

But let’s not worry about numbers for the moment and get on with the review.


Price: N/A at the LCBO

Region: Speyside

Abv: 43%

Colour: 10YR 7/8

Nose: Raisin, orange, light brown sugar, cinnamon/ginger, lemon rind, thyme

This is rich enough that smelling it goes right to my hips. But heck, what doesn’t these days.

The sherry note is evident, as you could imagine from the mental image of my hips. Lots of spice, raisin, and Xmas notes. Somewhere between good homemade cranberry sauce and healthy cranberry sauce, without the cranberry elements.

Taste: Brown sugar, anise extract, mint, raisin, ginger, underripe pineapple

Spicy. Quite spicy. However that’s about all.

Save for a flavour that tastes “off”. Something that signals “not ready to eat yet”, or “this fruit wants you to wait”. Which I always do, as I’m a gentleman. It’s strong enough over time to take over the seemingly stronger spice elements that dominate the taste.

Not fun.

Finish: Lemon, cranberry, black tea, underripe kiwi

Finishes quite bitter, which I’m known for whinging about. Has this acidic, bitter flavour that is overpowering. A little bit of bitterness is good. Nothing but bitterness and I’m out.

Conclusion: All in all an interesting dram that has suffered from either too much water, bringing out the rougher elements or too much sherry influence, erasing the Scotch elements.

Mortlach’s are worth trying. They can be hit or miss. It’s the nature of the juice. This one exemplifies that belief for me. The nose is quite nice, as long as you want something heavily sherried. The rest becomes too spicy and too bitter.

I’d try this one before you buy.


Scotch review #499, Speyside review #150, Whisky Network review #813

101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die review #70

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