I’ve come back to revisiting the other old Mortlach expressions we tasted at the Gordon & MacPhail Mortlach tasting at the 2015 Whisky Show in London. I published my full account of the masterclass in my review of the 75 Year Old Mortlach Generations, and recommend you read that account before coming back to this tasting note.
Stephen Rankin, UK Director of Sales for G&M, and Whisky writer Charlie MacLean led this masterclass, with Charlie talking more about Mortlach while Stephen concentrated more on Gordon and MacPhail’s story. That worked well, as the two stories were truly meant to be told together.
The first bottle in the tasting was a 12 year old Mortlach bottled in the 1960s, so it was distilled sometime in the 1950s. It’s a well known fact that G&M source their own casks, and have them filled at the various distilleries, giving all G&M bottlings their own character. These three Mortlachs (the 12, the 1938 and the 1954) share that heavy sherry character, while the 75 year old has a somewhat different, very surprising and lighter, profile.
Gordon and MacPhail Mortlach 12 Year Old, Bottled in the 1960s (40% ABV)
Appearance: Mahogany, with tiny thin legs.
Nose: Deep old sherry, old leather, furniture varnish, old dried fruit, faint smoke from the Mortlach floor maltings with a light perfumy note.
Palate: Beefy and oily, bitter and dry with a sourness and a light note of smoke with hints of tropical fruit.
Linger: Smoky and very dry, delivered in a short finish leaving behind the smoke for a little while longer.
This is what you think of when you think of the classic, old style Speyside whisky. There is very little surprise that it’s the G&M owned Benromach distillery that remains true today to to this style, as these are the classic combinations of light peat and sherry the old Speysiders, and indeed Gordon and MacPhail themselves, stand for….