Mortlach 18 (Signatory Vintage TWE Selection 1998/2016 Oloroso Sherry Finish) Review

This is an 18 year Mortlach that was selected by The Whisky Exchange. It was finished in an Oloroso sherry butt for 54 months before being bottled at 55.8% ABV.

Nose: Cherries, nice malty/sherry combo while coming off quite oak heavy for 18 years. A hint of acetone mixed among mineral oils with some banana appearing after a bit.

Palate: Strawberry hard candies with a thick sherry influnce – a tiny bit of farmy malt in the background mixed among the sherry fruit notes.

Finish: Cherry and cocoa notes linger.

Rating: 85/100

Value for the money: This can be bought from the TWE currently at around $125 (excluding shipping). I think that’s a pretty reasonable price for what you’re getting.

Mortlach 19 (Cooper’s Choice 1996/2015 Cask #0279) Review

This is a 19 year Mortlach matured in a bourbon cask and bottled by Cooper’s Choice at 53.5% ABV.

Nose: Loads of sugar and vanilla with a fresh bouquet of flowers, demerara, green apples, pears, coriander, slightly doughy.

Palate: Dough persists into palate as a myriad of spices emerge – cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Oak delivers a bit of a harsh bite tempered by raisins.

Finish: Apple peels, honey, and flowery malt linger for some time.

Rating: 89/100 – A very solid ex-bourbon cask Mortlach.

Value for the money: This is available online from the UK for £108 (£90 excluding VAT) – I think that’s a pretty solid price for what you get.

Mortlach 20 (Cadenhead’s Small Batch 1994/2014) Review

This is a 20 year Mortlach aged in ex-bourbon casks and bottled by Cadenhead’s at 51.4% ABV.

Nose: Strong vanilla and cherry cordial notes with graham crackers, tangerine, wet grass, and lemon juice. Overall very bright and sweet.

Palate: Much drier here as the oak turns heavy/bitter and those super sweet cherry notes disappear. Some damp straw and bitter herbs.

Finish: Bitter oak and faint vanilla with a relatively short finish.

Rating: 81/100 – The nose was great but so much about what made it great disappeared immediately on palate/finish. Overall, a fairly standard/decent Mortlach.

Value for the money: I think these retailed around $100 which is an ok price – would like to see this one closer to $75-80.

Mortlach 21 (Signatory Vintage 1990/2012 Binny’s Selection Cask #6073) Review

This is a 21 year Mortlach that was matured in a sherry cask, selected by Binny’s, and bottled at 52.8% ABV.

Nose: Bananas, toffee, fruity/light sherry, slightly briny and grassy malt with a nutty profile.

Palate: Musty oak begins to overpower the sherry as it dries out. The malt retains some nutty and farmy qualities on the palate.

Finish: Not much here – dry oak, fades quickly, malt turns waxy before fading.

Rating: 80/100 – Mortlach can be very hit or miss for me, but the floor for their misses are higher than a lot of other distilleries. This isn’t a bad dram, but it’s quite simple and leaves you wanting more – especially on the palate/finish.

Value for the money: This retailed around $100 I believe, and that’s a pretty decent price for a 21 year malt.

Mortlach 24 (Signatory Vintage 1990/2014 Cask #6075) Review

This is a 24 year Mortlach that was matured in a Sherry Butt and bottled at 51.6% ABV.

Nose: Clean malt with a minimal sherry influence – this cask must have been on its last legs. Slight banana and apple cider with slightly rancid butter.

Palate: Faint tobacco mixed with a sulphury sherry, damp oak, sour malt, pineapple juice, and some butyric acid.

Finish: Acidic and sour here with some funky oak.

Rating: 76/100 – Guessing this cask was pretty tapped out by this point – a bit too heavy on the sour/acid notes for me throughout.

Value for the money: I think this retailed between $120-$150, and I’d pass on it since I’m not a fan. However, that’s not a bad price in general for a Signatory cask strength malt of this age.

Mortlach 24 (First Editions 1989/2013) Review

This is a 24 year Mortlach that was matured in an ex-bourbon cask and bottled at 49.7% ABV.

Nose: Loads of honey and pepper up front with brown sugar and lilacs following. Muted tart berries and vanilla in the background.

Palate: Funky, farmy Mortlach profile with dried hay, fresh dirt, honey oak, a dash of salt, and red apples.

Finish: Turns quite peppery again with the farm notes lasting.

Rating: 88/100

Value for the money: This retailed for $220 which is too steep for this expression. I’d be a buyer closer to $150 or so.

Mortlach 19 (Gordon & MacPhail Binny’s Selection) Review

This is a 19 year old Mortlach bottled by Gordon & MacPhail and selected by Binny’s out of Chicago.

Nose: Typical funky Mortlach profile for me – rich malt, sherry, strawberries, and some odd earthy notes.

Palate: Heavy vegetal notes with slightly sweet malt

Finish: Earthy, sweet, sour, strange.

Rating: 86/100 – Classic Mortlach if you’re into that kind of thing.

Value for the money: I think these retailed around $150 which is too high – I’d buy closer to $70-$80.

Mortlach 16 Flora & Fauna Review

The Flora and Flauna series is a set of expressions from lesser known/not as common distilleries from Diageo. Since this bottle released a few years back, I’ve seen Mortlach picking up more and more steam and coming more into the mainstream to a degree. This is a 16 year expression bottled at 43%.

Nose: Odd, musty sherry – reminds me of a manzanilla finish with a bit of oloroso. Very vegetal heavy all around with prominent oak with some vanilla and brine.

Palate: Sherry takes a sweeter turn here with a bit of citrus. Bright malt, plenty of oak throughout but sweet and tangy overall

Finish: Sherry fades rapidly becoming quite dry and earthy

Rating: 84/100 – I’m not a big fan of manzanilla type sherry influence (not saying that’s the cask involved here, but it reminds me of that profile), but an interesting pour all around.

Value for the money: These retail between $125-$150 and I think it’s an easy pass there. I’d value this closer to $70-$80.

Mortlach 16 (Signatory Vintage K&L Selection Cask #1) Review

This is a Signatory Vintage Mortlach 16 selected by K&L Wines. It was distilled in 1998, finished in an Oloroso Sherry for 33 months, and bottled in 2014 at 55.8% ABV.

Nose: Crips, clean sherry up front with damp oak, a little smoke, and barley coming through clearly. Slightly musty note overall, but love the distinct sherry/malt side by side.

Palate: Sherry turns subtler with a myriad of spices. Oak presents older here with a citrusy note.

Finish: Bold finish with a lot of peppered malt, sherry, and oak pulling back a bit.

Rating: 85/100 – enjoyable but fairly plain all around. The sherry influence is there enough to make it interesting, but seemed to fall a bit short.

Value for the money: This was $99 at K&L when it was released, and I’d say it would fit more comfortably in the $70 range.