It’s time for another quick dram from the treasures I managed to unearth at the Green Welly Stop a few weeks ago, following on from the incredible Longrow 1974 16yo. This time it’s from Mortlach, the ‘Beast of Dufftown’. I’ve long been a fan of Mortlach whisky, despite owners Diageo really pissing me off a while back when they launched the all new super-mega-ultra-premium Mortlach series. Nevertheless, what we have here is a 12yo bottled by Gordon & MacPhail, possibly the most prolific and well respected independent bottler of Scotch whisky. Having done quite a bit of Googling, it appears that this was bottled in the 1980s, but I’m not 100% certain so I’m happy for someone of superior whisky geekery to correct me. Just comment below.
Mortlach 12yo (b.1980s?)
Gordon & MacPhail
Nose: Takes a few moments to get going (not surprising considering how long it’s been cooped up in a bottle) but then comes out punching; mint leaf, orange marmalade, gingerbread cake, camphor and glazed walnuts. Then the meatiness; leather, lightly smoked ham with a faint hint of struck match and some lapsang souchong.
Palate: Manuka honey, raisins and a sherry soaked fruit salad to begin. Then some cinnamon dusted prunes, clove, tea leaf and charred twigs before a big, juicy, oak hit.
Finish: The woodspices linger, with rich oaky notes and faint cigar.
Overall: Absolutely classic Mortlach – big, bold, and beautiful. The meaty, savoury side from the distillate is there and is complemented by the contribution from the cask perfectly. Tasting this blind I’d have said it was a bit older, possibly edging towards 15 or even 18yo if I was feel particularly enthusiastic… it’s *that* complex and well balanced. A beast indeed.