Mortlach 1995-2013, 18yo, casks 4079+4780, 46% – Signatory

Mortlach. The distillery that might have gotten the most flack from the blogging community, and raving reviews from the more professional media outlets this year. Their newly released range is pricy but supposedly good.

An easy Google query can get you all the info on their new range you need so I’m not going into it here.

This bottle comes from Signatory’s 46% range. This range is not really a blind spot on my radar, but I don’t encounter them all that often. I’ve tried a few bottlings over the years and I can’t remember ever being truly thrilled by one. Most of them feel a bit below par by not being cask strength.

I think it’s the case with almost all ranges from bottlers that are not at cask strength, but I always get the feeling that this is second choice and has therefore not been bottled in their cask strength series. This might be a bit cynical, but in the few whiskies I’ve tried from this range, I’ve not been proven wrong in a memorable way. Of course, I bet people who’ve been at it more intensively or longer than I have can instantly rattle of some great ones, but I can’t.

Anyway, Mortlach is cool. Their whisky is cool. It’s one of a kind, which I find very important in a dram. It has to add something to my collection if I’m buying it. Let’s get to it.

It’s heavy alright. That’s a start. That’s what you expect. It has a scent of beef char on a barbecue. There’s vanilla and white oak too, with some mild peppery spices. It feels much stronger than 46% and based on the nose alone I’d have said Cask Strength any day.

The palate is rather gentle, but after a few seconds a peppery coarseness sets in. It feels almost gritty. There’s a hint of vanilla, and a lot of oak. Some herbaceous flavors too, which goes well with the beef char that’s present here too. Not sweet at all.

The finish is easy going with very similar flavors to the palate. Quite oaky to an almost bitter level. Medium long and tasty.

Well, that ‘rant’ I started with should be corrected now. This is a great dram in its price bracket. I’m not always a fan of bourbon matured Mortlachs since the sweetness of the spirit can overpower the wood for a long time, to a level that you think you’re drinking liquid pear drops, and only that.

This one is not in that category and Signatory have chosen two good casks for this bottling and if you think this sets you back some € 45, AND that it’s still available, you’re golden. This is one to look out for and I keep reconsidering my self imposed promise to not buy anything for a while (like I’ve done SOOO many times before).

Mortlach 1995-2013, 18yo, casks 4079+4780, 46%, Signatory Vintage. Available at DrankGigant in The Netherlands for € 45.50

Thanks for the sample, Shai!

About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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