When you get chance to try a whisky with the age statement of this Mortlach, then you are having a lucky day. When it is the sixth dram in an amazing collection of tasters, then it is a very good day indeed. This dram is one of a very interesting range of releases from Gordon and Macphail, called the Rare Vintage Range. The range encompasses lots of interesting, well aged whiskies from distilleries all around Scotland. They are all bottle under license from the distilleries themselves and are all packaged in a unique distillery label.
As a distillery Mortlach, is one of four that currently operate in or near Dufftown in Speyside. In its early history, the distillery was known to produce spirit that was sold to rich collectors and investors. In the last century, it has had a long connection with Johnnie Walker, with much of its spirit used in that brands blended whiskies. Very recently the distillery has gained a good reputation for producing interesting and well thought of single malts, especially under the Flora and Fauna range produced by its now owners, Diageo.
We got to try this dram as part of a tweet tasting, which is a great way to try new drams. I chose to review this one, as it was the favourite amongst the three tasters at my table on that evening.
Price: £1700 – 1800
Appearance: Dark Mahogany brown, like a well aged satchel full of secret documents and interesting information.
Aroma: Rich oak, musty leather and Christmas cake spice. Like driving in an old car, top down on a crisp winters day with a newly cooked cake, gently cooling on the back seat.
Taste: This dram is remarkably flavourful straight away, in no way mellow like I expected. The first notes are round and oaken, they drag me from my lounge and land me smack on a woodland floor, after a crisp spring shower. These earthen, wooden, fruit notes melt into the palate.
Then there is a building heat from an aniseed like spice, that is carried on a wooden tide relentlessly lapping on the back on the palate. This warmth builds and spreads with it a dark sugar or South America coffee like berry fruit. For me this is a blackcurrant flavour, with sweetness and sharpness.
As these flavours pass away, the finish is tannic and drying, but there is a dark, brown sugar richness and sweetness too. A heritic might even say that there is a herbal, fizzy cola like note present here too.
Mouthfeel: Big, wooden and fruity.
Overall: For me the feeling of trying this whisky, was the liquid equivalent of the person who gets told on Antiques Roadshow that the vase that they had bought at a boot sale for £5, was now worth £10,000. We got to try it because we got the dram through a Tweet Tasting, but could never have afforded to otherwise. Just taking the spirit at face value, I really enjoyed it. I thought it was big, full flavoured and interesting, whether a liquid can ever be worth £1700, is a question I leave to those with the chance to ask that question.
Real Dram Factor: 8.2
Source: Tweet Tasting Sample
More Information: Gordon and MacPhail website