ABV: 48.8% Distillery: Mortlach Bottler: That Boutique-y Whisky Company Region: SpeysideAge: 20
Door number 22 of the 2018 Boutique-y Advent calendar takes us over to Dufftown in Speyside – complete with a cartoon monster wreaking havoc on the local population. The whisky produced at Mortlach – nicknamed ‘The Beast of Dufftown’ has long been desired by blenders as a core constituent malt within their blends. This is often attributed to Mortlach’s naturally heavy body, that provides both solid base-flavour and texture as well as an ideal spirit for sherry cask maturation.
Mortlach’s inherent ‘weight’ is a product of the distillery’s unusual and complex distillation regime which involves utilising two sets of wash and spirit stills out of tandem (splitting the run unequally after the first distillations), whilst still operating a third pair of stills as one would normally expect. The resultant spirit ends up being distilled 2.81 times.
Until earlier this year, the Mortlach range consisted of Rare Old, Special Strength, 18 year old and 25 year old – all bottled in 50cl decanters. The expressions were widely chided by the whisky community for being extremely over-priced, and a rather sarcastic attempt to take a little known blending malt, tart it up in fancy packaging and proclaim it as the next super-premium whisky. Thankfully, Diageo watched and listened, and earlier this year revitalised the distillery’s entire range (The Dramble will be bringing you reviews in 2019) with full-sized bottles and pricing which feels much more in-line with the current market.
But, before the revamp, those looking to sate their Mortlach desires without breaking their bank balances have had to look to independent bottlers for their fixes. That Boutique-y Whisky Company have been more than happy to provide – their latest batch (of 342 bottles at 48.8% ABV) was released in August of this year at a cost of £129.99 from Master of Malt.
Nose: Starting a little constricted, but rapidly developing in the glass – buttered popcorn, tonka beans, marzipan, nutmeg and stem ginger open, with toasted bread and brioche following. In the background, split vanilla pods, dusty oak and chopped herbs (sage). The addition of water introduces a big pear aroma – quite lovely – as well as pancake batter and savoury crackers.
Taste: Far more intense than the nose – reduced berries (raspberry and cranberry), toffee apples and a building lemony polish that growths with the development. The mid-palate favours spiciness with cinnamon and pepper bursting across the palate and then subsiding into sour tropical fruits (mango and guava). Running throughout, crumble mix and buttery pastry with an interesting greenhouse note of bell pepper. Reduction offers a smoother ride with tinned orchard and stone fruits and more direct cask influence – vanilla, toffee and charred oak.
Finish: Long with pepper spice, and dry oak - the intensity of which is heightened when diluted.
Forget ‘meaty Mortlach’, Boutique-y’s fifth batch from this distillery shows off its new modern style – fruity, well-spiced and with a different type of weightiness. Impactful, tasty and accessible.
Review calendar provided by Boutique-y Whisky
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