Google Mortlach 75 yo vs. Glen Grant 59 yo

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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

October 13, 2015


Mortlach 75 yo vs. Glen Grant 59 yo

I know I was meant to post more Caol Ila today, but that’ll rather happen tomorrow. Don’t you like surprises? Indeed, I thought we’d better taste two recent super-oldies by Gordon & MacPhail, since one of them just came in. That one’s brand new and was distilled while WWII had just been declared two months before, while the other one was distilled exactly ten years after the war ended. I’ve chosen the latter because I thought it would make for a very contrasting sparring partner. Indeed, in theory, the Mortlach should be light and almost evanescent, whilst the Glen Grant should be totally monstrous. But let’s check that immediately, if you don’t mind…

Mortlach 75 yo 1939/2014 (44.4%, Gordon & MacPhail, Generations, first fill sherry butt, cask #2475, 100 bottles)

Mortlach 75 yo 1939/2014 (44.4%, Gordon & MacPhail, Generations, first fill sherry butt, cask #2475, 100 bottles) Five stars Most certainly the oldest whisky ever bottled! There already was a 70 yo back in 2010 (WF 88) but three quarters of a century may be more symbolic an age by Scottish standards (but that’s not that rare in armagnac.) I find this tear-shaped decanter pretty lovely with its art-déco feeling, you would imagine that pre-war Bugattis or Hispanos were fitted this kind of bottle in their bars. And old cognac. Oh, and I should add that I had also tried the Mortlach 1939 50yo by G&M a few years back, and that I had found it superb (WF 91). Now let’s try to answer the only worthy question regarding this new 75 yo that was launched in September: is this baby still alive or not? Colour: bright gold, not dark at all.

Nose: it’s the freshness that’s pretty impressive, the first thing that springs to my mind is a mirabelle pie sprinkled with cinnamon and almond powder. There are wild herbs as well, perhaps rather sage, and saponin, then palm oil, perhaps shea butter… Reminds me of mid-1970s suntan lotion. Remember Piz Buin? Also fresh hazelnuts, and green oranges, with a faint metallic touch (silverware polish). And also a little menthol, as almost always with very old spirits. Mouth: fresh herbs again! That’s good news, it did not get drying, neither is it tea-ish or oaky as such, even if these herbal notes do probably come from the wood. I also find quite a lot of grapefruit and lemon, rather amazingly, which makes it surprisingly fresh. Also a touch of green banana, which combines well with the lemon, and gives this baby a much unexpected tropical side. Good body, just a wee tad light, but that’s normal. Finish: even more tropical! Pineapples this time, and a distinct lemon balm. The aftertaste is a little more drying, with some tea this time. Some kind of zesty wulong? Comments: an uncommon style, never fragile, with an oak that never gets in your way. While the almondy side was to be expected, the tropical fruits are the stars here. But they’re unusual tropical fruits, not quite like in, say a 1972 Clynelish or a 1976 Benriach. Worth trying really, perhaps do a bottle share or something? The price is not that high given the rarity and the age – and the fact that it’s the current record-holder as far as ages and Scotch are concerned. Around £20,000 a decanter, that’s only £571 per 2cl, so an Apple Watch. Who needs an Apple Watch? SGP:571 - 90 points.

Glen Grant 59 yo 1955/2015 (60.8%, Gordon & MacPhail for LMDW, Book of Kells, 1st fill sherry hogshead, cask #845)

Glen Grant 59 yo 1955/2015 (60.8%, Gordon & MacPhail for LMDW, Book of Kells, 1st fill sherry hogshead, cask #845) Five stars A winner of a Gold Medal at the Malt Maniacs Awards 2014. I’ve just seen that it’s still available, for one tenth of the price of the Mortlach 75 yo. Oh and did you notice the incredible strength after almost 60 years in wood? Colour: coffee. Nose: chocolate everywhere. We’re wandering throughout a chocolate factory, while they’re making both thin mints and marmalade-filled chocolates. All this chocolate would never go away – good news – but other aromas appear, such as blackberry jelly, peonies, blood oranges, black cherries, and pipe tobacco. No gunpowder, no bacon. With water: thin mints, really. After Eights, then slate and the blackest, fattest, dampest pipe tobacco. All black in there. And some menthol, as expected once again.

Mouth (neat): smashes you with grey pepper, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon, then hyper-concentrated marmalade and, once again, truckloads of black chocolate. And coffee, Gauloise, all that. A bit, cough, cough, strong… At 59 years of age! With water: beautifully mentholy and fruity. Definitely oriental, with some orange blossom, cloves, pomegranates, sweet curry sauce, then litres of artisan hot chocolate and coffee. Crunching just-roasted coffee beans. Finish: long, always extremely chocolaty, with a marmalady signature and always a little menthol. Bitter oranges, a touch of cardamom again. Comments: I was afraid this baby would be too drying and flat, since other 1955s had been a little weak, but that wasn’t the case at all, was it! I’m sure this spectacular baby would cure just anything. Just not malt mania. SGP:561 - 92 points.

Scottish soldiers circa 1945







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