So I went to The Feathers Pub to review whiskies ahead of time for a tasting I’m running.
I only needed to review two of them ahead of time, so I reviewed two more, because that’s how I do. The Mortlach 1989 Murray McDavid was one of the drams that we were chosen.
I have said it before, recently, and I’ll say it again: Mortlach is one of those drams that has no middle ground. Typically. I try not to stick too hard to assumptions. I accept there can be some middle of the road Mortlach.
I also recently stated I hadn’t found any Mortlachs under the age of 15. So using my power for evil, I chose this dram for my own selfish needs. Or rather I wanted to do a Mortlach that I’ve never had, and didn’t actually know it fit those credentials.
So let’s see how this non cask strength, 12 year old that I totally didn’t pick for myself. Here’s hoping I didn’t screw over the first Toronto Whisky Society tasting.
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Cask Type: Fresh Sherry
Colour: 7.5YR 6/10
Nose: Cherry syrup, ginger, cinnamon, strawberry, caramel, algae
I’m starting to wonder if “fresh sherry” is a term that is used for second fill sherry casks. Or if I’m being suckered by the marketing. It’s one of those.
This is quite sherry forward. Good amount of strong red fruit and spice notes. It doesn’t completely take over, which is nice. Takes some time to show off the scotch notes though, so give it time.
Taste: Ginger, black pepper, lime, orange, strawberry, pineapple
More spice. There’s no meatiness that I’m used to in Mortlach. I’m assuming that a young Mortlach doesn’t have that note yet. Or at least this one does. I’ll have to drink more.
Yes, that’s always the solution.
Lots of fruit going on here.
Finish: Cranberry, ham, honey, cloves, dusty, caramelized brown sugar, orange wood polish
Wait, there’s the meatiness. Nice amount of brown sugar. Really strong finish for a young malt, and a low Abv. I’m impressed.
Good job inanimate objects! Also the whisky maker, I guess.
The finish is the most powerful part of the dram. Big and strong, really tasty, and has some orange and wood notes to finish it out.
Conclusion: A sherry forward nose, a somewhat one noted fruit taste, and then a finish that I personally was surprised by filled with fruit, baked ham, and… wait, maybe I’m not giving the ham enough credit.
Imagine a ham that is covered in brown sugar, cloves, and pineapple, baked perfectly. That’s the finish on this. If the rest of it was half as good, this would be the best Mortlach I’ve had. Now? It’s quite the surprise.
Scotch review #548, Speyside review #166, Whisky Network review #908