Mortlach 15 Years Old (Gordon & MacPhail)

43% ABV, £40 for 70cl

Score 80/100

What they say:

From Master of Malt

A 15 year old from the Mortlach distillery, aged in first fill and refill sherry casks before bottling for Gordon and MacPhail.

The nose is rich with cereal sweetness and warm barley. Apple blossom rises without effort and notes of malmsey and stewed fruits and Christmas punch emerge with spice and muffin. The palate is quite full and quite sweet. The cereal notes return with a syrupy texture. Shades of sherried sultanas and notes of freshly cut fruit salad, hints of toasty oak with obligatory vanilla spice and peppery warmth. The finish is long with the fruit and spice rising readily from the oak.

What I say:

Bought for me as a present by my better half, tired of listening to me rave on and on about the Mortlach 16 Years Old Flora and Fauna as one of my favourite whiskies. This expression is a year younger and possibly has slightly less sherry influence.

Colour:

Golden bronze

Nose:

Delicate malted barley, suede leather tannins, a little fresh wood or sawdust and strawberry jam.

Taste:

Lightly sweet and prickly spicy this has flavours of brambles, grape/raisin, all spice, drying suede, brown sugar and nutmeg

Finish:

Medium, slightly sweet and spicy, drying oak wood then juicy fruits to round off.

Would I buy it again:

That is a hard decision, the Mortlach 16YO F&F is to me like Christmas in a bottle. This 15YO bottling is a little younger, fresher and oakier but still carries many of the Mortlach distillate elements. If the F&F does become rarer or pricier this is a potential alternative, however it doesn’t quite hit the exact flavour notes and intensities of its older brother but it is just as complex and refined. I think if these were side-by-side on the shop shelf I would reach for the Flora and Fauna nearly every time. Reassuringly however this bottle encourages me that not only are Mortlach distillery doing something majorly right in the way they produce their whisky but Gordon & MacPhail are also achieving near-perfection in their cask-maturation and bottling regime. This is still an outstanding whisky for the price on the bottle.