Produced at: Mortlach distillery, Speyside Scotland
Description: Situated in the heart of the Speyside region of Scotland, Dufftown is known the Whisky Capital of the World. The village, which produces more malt whisky than any other town in Scotland, is home to seven distilleries, the oldest of which is Mortlach Distillery. Mortlach, “The Beast of Dufftown,” is a storied Speyside distillery that has a long reputation as the maker of a connoisseur’s whisky. For years, single malt from Mortlach has been hard to come by; most of its production has been destined for inclusion in blends like Johnnie Walker. But demand for single malts continues to rise, so a couple of years ago, current owner Diageo announced it would be increasing production and launching some new Mortlach malts. The results are finally here, in the form of three general releases (plus one travel retail release). All of the prior bottlings of Mortlach are now being dropped.
The trilogy of malts was introduced to many of us via a web-based tasting by the enchantingly goofy Georgie Bell, aka “Miss Mortlach,” Mortlach’s Global Brand Ambassador. Bell led the group through the history of Mortlach, including its fabled yet confusing “2.81 distilling process,” which involves a carefully calibrated utilization of its three stills, each a different design, in the production of its whisky.
But the highlight was a tasting of these amazing whiskies. All of the whiskies are bottled at 86.8 proof. (And here’s a pro tip: Real Scots pronounce the distilleryMORT-leck. The R is nearly silent.)
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Expression: Rare Old
Age: No age
Colour: Deep gold with quick legs. Some liquid residue remains on the sides of the glass.
Nose: Very light notes of sherry, but a lot of honey and some vanilla. Oranges are very pronounced, with a tinge of acetone or varnish. The nose is very light (nothing beefy there)..
Palate: Dry and very alcoholic with orange leading the palate. Light mouthfeel, not chewey of full bodied.
Finish: Sweet oranges, light spices, mainly white pepper and light cinnamon.