Thanks to /u/cake_my_day for sharing this dram.
Will there ever be a day I don’t want to review a Mortlach? Probably not. It’s pretty simple here people: I tried Mortlach back in the early days of reviewing (the first 400ish reviews) and liked it. Not to mention it was typically older, had a meaty flavour, and wasn’t in demand.
Jump ahead a few years and it’s now in demand, the releases are now half the age, and the meaty flavour is gone.
Mortlach 21 1991 Signatory Cask Strength Collection is from those yesteryears. Will this be the last of the meaty Mortlach? Maybe. Recession’s coming, like the tides given how some people run companies.
So we have a sherry aged, 21-year-old Mortlach that was independently bottled by a company I’m a big fan of (but my wallet has some concerns). Is it good? Am I just that nostalgic jerk that young, 20-something me hated? Well, yes, but is it good? Let’s see, shall we?
Vintage: October 1, 1991
Bottled: May 14, 2013
Cask type: Sherry Butt
Cask number: 7708
Number of bottes: 591
Colour: 7.5YR 4/8
Nose: Strawberry, creme caramel, spiced apricot jam, vellum/old books, mint
Lighter notes at first that then lead to some richness, some spice, some tang, and an old leather note that’s also like old books more than an old couch. Less fart smells, more ancient dust that’s mostly librarian skin flakes, if you will.
I really know how to sell things. I liked this, if that wasn’t evident (no shade there). Lots of different elements to it.
Taste: Brown sugar, butter, currant, apple pie, cinnamon hearts
Keeps getting richer, and it’s a slow grower again (nickname in high school). Eventually builds to what most people think of when they say “too much cinnamon” or “just the right amount of cinnamon”.
How do you tell? Well, if you go into a famous Cinnamon Bun chain and feel the smell never lives up to the taste? Then you’re in the second group. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re probably in the first.
Finish: Date squares, salty ham, cloves, raspberry jam, candied ginger
More richness, some cereal/oat flavour, the old Mortlach meatiness (RIP), more of the jam and ginger notes. It’s all very “North American Easter dinner” and I’m here all night for it.
Conclusion: A good sherried dram that doesn’t feel like it’s overdone. There’s a lot of date notes but it’s still that quintessential old style Mortlach I miss. It’s a properly done English dessert, which if you’ve ever had a badly done English dessert, you know a good one is a lot of work.
This is what I’m talking about when I say balance and good amounts of sherry. It’s not overdone. I’ve had very few recent Mortlachs that effortlessly do what this one does, and will keep hunting these meaty, balanced drams. You should too.
Scotch review #1565, Speyside review #447, Whisky Network review #2289