Thanks to /u/devoz for pouring me this sample.
During the tasting we realized that two of us had brought two different cask strength, Hunter Laing independently bottled single cask Mortlachs, both of which were picked out by one store as an exclusive. That store? Albert Einstein. No, wait, that’s wrong, it was Kensington Wine Market.
So people reviewed them side by side. I say “people” as I had pre-reviewed my whisky to ensure it’s in the right spot in the lineup after some pesky mistakes I made in the past about profiles I assumed. You could say I made an ass out of “u” and me but then we’d miss the d, and no one wants to do that.
So what is this? It’s a single cask, picked out by those wacky guys at Hunter Laing, matured in ex-Bourbon then finished in a California Cabernet wine cask, then picked out by Kensington Wine Market in Calgary.
We’ve done this before though, right? It’s a 11-year-old whisky, same independent bottler (not the same sub-bottler label, don’t be pedantic), picked by the same store, and only different with a cask finish. So we’re here for the cask finish, right?
Let’s see, shall we?
Price: $120.00 CAD
Cask type California Cabernet Wine Cask Finish
Cask number: HL 18507
No. Of bottles 180
Bottled for: Kensington Wine Market
Colour: 2.5Y 8/6
Nose: Orange, meat, dark caramel, red fruit
Wait… Wait… Hold on… Wait!
This… wait, this tastes like… older Mortlach?
What in the what? I thought this was dead? Did Mortlach get my letters and drop the protection order?
No, no, come on TOModera, you’ve worked in the alcohol industry, Occam’s Razor, come on… Someone just may have tried the old method, or found the wrong recipe sheet laying around.
But there’s meat! Nice richness, good acidity, lovely fruit, and that meat note I keep going on about.
Gotta calm myself down, maybe it’s the cask. Okay, breathe, and stop ordering tons of 2009 Mortlach. You have rent to pay.
Alright… Sadly it’s a bit of a weak nose.
Taste: Starburst, milk chocolate, plum, cherry
Fruity, no more meat, I’m calmer now, and chocolate. Lovely mix of fruit, sweet candy notes, and chocolate/cocoa. It’s rich, it’s nicely flavourful.
Would be better with ham though. But I could say that about almost anything.
Finish: Coal, clove, sulphur, raspberry, anise
Watch out sulphuric sensitive readers, this may turn you off. Spice, burny, and fruity. Might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
Granted it’d be greater if there was ham, but we’ve been over that.
Conclusion: Fruity dram that reminds me of old Mortlachs but only on the nose. I got way, way too excited when I had that, and for all I know these specific red wine casks add the note I found. Which is too bad, as this had a weaker nose than I’d want.
The question we then ask: Did someone accidentally make the old Style? Gotta find more Mortlach from 2009 to see! But in a calm way, probably, just with single casks.
I can say in wine and brewing if a store has a special edition, that was probably a mistake that someone made. Also the alcohol industry is so disorganized it makes artists look like wedding planners in terms of organization, so it’s not insane to think someone picked up an older recipe, followed it, and someone only realized after the fact.
As for this whisky? I enjoyed it. Fruity, coal/sulphur, and chocolate are things I enjoy in whisky. It’s a fun dram if you like those elements, and a bad one if those are no bueno. Aka no shit TOModera.
Scotch review #1575, Speyside review #450, Whisky Network review #2299