Mortlach 20 Year Old
70cl / 43.4%
Cowie's Blue Seal
- Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky
- Distillery Bottling
The elegant oldie in the Mortlach range, channeling The Beast of Dufftown (the distillery's nickname) into a more refined form. Matured solely in sherry casks, the whisky has been crafted to match rich and dark sherry character against old, refined oaky notes. It's one to take time with, well-balanced and complex, with much more going on than you might expect.
Mortlach 20 Year Old Reviews
Tasting notes from Billy Abbott, The Whisky Exchang
Nose: Olive oil, sultanas and green apples to lead. Warm, oily engines hide right at the back, with soft fruity notes pushing forward – sweet apples, raisins and mixed peel. Tropical notes begin to emerge: pineapple and candied papaya. Brown sugar and toasted oak slowly builds.
Palate: Demerara-sugar dusted apples, olive-oil sponge cake and a bowl of mixed sultanas and raisins. Darker flavours slowly develop, with dark chocolate, dates and prunes balanced against fresher apple and pear orchard fruit notes. Hints of honey and menthol appear towards the end.
Finish: Honey and menthol to start – lemon Lockets without the lemons – with nuts and vanilla to follow.
Comment: Harking back to the elegance of the Mortlach 25 Year Old from the previous range, this layers on sherry notes and adds extra depth to that dram’s more gentle character. A marriage of traditional sherry with old Mortlach’s more delicate and frarant side. More a pussy-cat than The Beast of Dufftown, and that’s no bad thing.
Nose: Super dense and rich, with touches of floor polish and much more of the waxy, earthy, meaty element seen in the previous examples. This has real elegance and complexity - and little intrigue. There is an added oiliness which you only get from mature whiskies. This in turn moves into varnish, leather oil, wood resins and even a touch of dubbin. The sensation is like being in some ancient, mysterious, library. There are dried fruits, a touch of scented wood, fir trees, cedar, Moroccan leather, slightly foxed books, floor polish, and some ink.
It grows in the glass, moving towards chanterelle mushroom/cep mushroom even some of the wax crayon also seen on the 12-year-old. Huge, highly complex and contemplative.
Body: Robust and rich. Palate clinging.
Palate: The mature depth seen on the nose comes immediately into focus, but before it goes towards the dark there’s a refreshing lift of aromatic and overripe fruits (quince especially) and a touch of spiciness. It then expands as the fruits dry and the oils start to coat the tongue. The meaty element comes in quickly here, full-on grunt with animalic edges, cured leather and light bitter notes that bring to mid nutshell, espresso crema, damson jam, cacao nibs all balanced with some hedgerow berry fruits meaning that the back palate has a brighter lift than you might expect from something which is so dense and meaty (think of a berry sauce with venison). As it develops so this back palate shows more roasting tin elements, some bark. It continues to extend into dried fruits.
Finish: Quite dense. It carries on seamlessly from the progression seen on the palate with liquorice and dried fruit.