I’ve never encountered a bad Mortlach I have to say, although I’ve not yet tried any of the newer expressions since the recent ‘premiumisation’ of the brand. The Flora & Fauna Mortlach 16 is where it’s at and always will be for me. I still have a bottle in storage for a special occasion but that was the first time I was truly saddened by a decision to discontinue an expression.
It wasn’t much after that announcement several years ago that I happened to be browsing through a whisky shop in a rural town in Perthshire that I found a dusty Gordon & MacPhail Mortlach 15. I cant recall the exact price but it was around £45 or so. Lamenting my loss of the F&F 16 I eagerly I snapped it up and it entered my drinking queue.
Fast forward to last weekend and the bottle was finally open.
Gordon & MacPhail are an Elgin based and family owned company that have an excellent reputation for consistent good quality. Their ‘Wood Makes The Whisky’ philosophy has ensured some brilliant releases recently. Several years ago saw them release a 75yo Mortlach expression that was distilled way back in 1939. Unfortunately my budget doesn’t quite stretch to a 75, so lets have a closer look at the 15.
This expression was bottled at 15 years old, was matured in refill sherry casks and released as part of G&M’s Distillery Labels range.
Mortlach 15, IB, Gordon & MacPhail, 43%abv, from my collection, (available here)
The nose is deep and inviting. Pleasant spices, stewed fruits and cereal notes are beautifully mixed alongside some light lemony notes, bananas and raisins.
The palate is fruity initially but is soon overtaken by the delicious raisin notes which mix fantastically with well tempered spices, cedar wood and a light orange zest. Cereal and oak notes emerge as do some light cinnamon and vanilla elements.
Initially I thought that the finish was quite short. Its not at all short, just pleasantly subtle. A gentle nutty note and lingering tannins leave you wanting more.