Google Ultimate duos today Mortlach

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

July 15, 2020



Ultimate duos and wee fights, today Mortlach


The majority of the new Prima & Ultima consists in peaters (PE, CI, Lagavulin, Talisker), while there’s one lighter Speysider (Dufftown) and two fatter, bigger pretty much unpeated malts, Clynelish and… Mortlach. It’s the latter that we’ll have today, and we won’t make its life any easier mind out. See the sparring-partner we’ve chosen…

The friendly sparring-partner:

Mortlach 27 yo 1989/2017 (55.7%, Kingsbury, hogshead, selected by Julie Lee, 245 bottles)

Mortlach 27 yo 1989/2017 (55.7%, Kingsbury, hogshead, selected by Julie Lee, 245 bottles) Four stars and a half
This one for Taiwan I believe. Colour: gold. Nose: Mortlach without any sherry can be rather fruity, but this one’s not, at least this far, as we’re rather finding various oils, especially graphite oil and lamp oil, then bags of limestone and chalk, crushed fruit stones, suet, this very specific kind of sulphur (stone), aspirin, ointments, white asparagus… It’s a pretty old-school nose, rather crisp and yet fat, really curious about the palate. But first… With water: I was expecting more fruit but it’s rather vegetables (eggplant) and perhaps paint that come out. Damp mortar. Mouth (neat): big, big stuff, pungent, a tad acrid, very oily and bitter, with bitter roots and herbs, green pepper, black pepper… I think we need to try to tame it right away. With water: much nicer, even lovely now, while stull fat and austere. Grapefruits, starfruit, mint, basil, olive oil… Finish: long, tense, lemony, chalky and bitter. Fizzy and peppery in the aftertaste (bitter tonic water). Comments: I utterly loved it at times, but it’s a difficult malt that really needs all your attention. You cannot even sip it while watching Netflix! (Amazon Prime is okay tough).
SGP:362 - 88 points.

The Prima & Ultima:

Mortlach 25 yo 1994/2019 (55.1%, OB, Prima & Ultima, first-fill PX /oloroso seasoned European oak butt, cask #2652, 389 bottles)

Mortlach 25 yo 1994/2019 (55.1%, OB, Prima & Ultima, first-fill PX /oloroso seasoned European oak butt, cask #2652, 389 bottles) Five stars
Good, it’s still a bit unclear how a cask could be both PX-ed and oloroso-ed, unless some mad coopers have used a mix of both beverages to season this butt. Or it’s been seasoned twice. Why not, but we’ll find out and update this modest note if necessary. Now are 1990s Mortlachs really ‘prima’ and ‘ultima’? Not too sure, we have plenty yet to try in our well-guarded boxes… Colour: full gold. Nose: sulphur, burnt vegetables, bitter chocolate, barbecue, coffee beans, pea, used matches, vintage car engine, bean curd, hard-boiled egg, battery, concrete, balsamico, grilled steak, leatherette… Well this sure is Mortlach! With water: fumes, concrete and stewed cabbage all over the place. Mouth (neat): resinous, peppery, fermentary, rooty and bitter. This one sure is beastly, I wouldn’t consider pouring it to someone who’s not deep into malt whisky. An anti-bourbon, I would say. With water: yess, excellent now, perfectly citrusy and jammy, rich, on kumquats, bergamots, cinchona, and a little burnt oak. Bitter dry chocolate. Finish: long, dry, on more raw chocolate and then ginger and pepper. Ginseng? Comments: huge, dry, extreme whisky, pretty intellectual, a tad difficult or at least challenging at times, but fully Mortlach. Perhaps more ‘Mortlach’ than Mortlach, well I know what I’m trying to say.
SGP:272 - 90 points.

UPDATE after a wee chat with Diageo’s Dr. Jim Beveridge, the cask was actually an older European-oak transport butt that had been rejuvenated with a blend of PX and oloroso. Mystery solved, thank you.

More tasting notesCheck the index of all Mortlach we've tasted so far







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