Thanks to /u/lasidar for bringing this bottle to the end of year sample.
Old as heck Mortlach is something I talk about quite a bit. And if I may repeat myself: Some distilleries make a product that needs time, some make one that needs to be cask strength, some need that cask influence (typically sherry), and some need some combination of the above.
Mortlach is one of those that, in my opinion at least, needs time and cask strength. Thus when I have the chance to try a 27 year old one that’s cask strength and single cask, Mortlach SMWS 76.122 “Complex, smooth and elegant” gets poured and I’m happy as a pig in plop.
But how does it taste? I go into this excited, but could I be incorrect? Me, a serial reviewer who people love to point out how wrong I am, wrong again?
Let’s see how it tastes, shall we?
Price: Sold out
Date Distilled: September 1987
Age: 27 years
Cask Type: Refill hogshead
Colour: 5Y 9/8
Nose: Mango, apple pie, pomelo, raspberry cheesecake
Very fruity on the nose, with buttery aspects influenced by brown sugar. It’s one of those whiskies that seems to want to bring you around the fruit aisle, lets you leave it for a few chunks of desserts but you need to come back.
It’s similar to some others, though it’s missing some of the evolved cereal notes there.
Taste: Dark caramel, raspberry, pear tart with an almond base, anise hard candy
Nice rich caramel, lovely fruit notes. I have a friend who made an amazing pear tart a few weeks ago, and as my expanding waistline will attest, it was tasty. And this had that nice mixture of almond and pear and just the right amount of spice.
Any missed complexity from the nose has come out on the taste.
Finish: Peach pie, grassy, marzipan, cotton, black pepper
Interesting finish. it’s younger tasting than I expected. It’s quite hot, has some rough edges around it. There’s some of the complexity from before, however that seems to be at odds with the rough, hot aspects.
Conclusion: Younger tasting than expected. I think what we have here is something that would have tasted as good as a 23 year old at 32. Which isn’t easy to explain.
This has aspects of what makes a great Mortlach, however the cask ran out of whatever magic fairy dust we needed, and no one re-casked it or sacrificed a nymph to make it keep going. Science is beautiful, isn’t it?
The taste is why you drink this. It hits the right notes. And there’s nothing wrong with it. I just wanted more, because I’m demanding and such.
Scotch review #806, Speyside review #232, Whisky Network review #1317