Whisky Review: Mortlach 25 Years Old 1989 Cask 4302 Exclusive (Bottled 2014)

Category: Speyside single malt scotch whisky

Origin: Mortlach Distillery

Bottling: Gordon & MacPhail; Exclusive from Mortlach Distillery

ABV: 50%

Cost: £130 from Gordon & MacPhail’s shop in Elgin

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What they say:

Distilled at Mortlach Distillery in 1989 this has spent 25 years maturing in a Refill Sherry Hogshead cask #4302 before being bottled at 50% in 2014,  producing 282 bottles at outturn.

What I say:

Dramvent Calender Day 20

This December I am attempting to sample and review a whisky everyday for the 24 days of Advent in the run up to Christmas. My very basic criteria as I sorted through my masses of whisky and samples were these:

  1. Single malt scotch only and should be (or have been) generally/easily available
  2. Each day must be from a different distillery
  3. Each day must be equivalent in age or older than the previous

Distilled at Mortlach Distillery in Speyside in 1989 and matured for 25 years in a refill sherry hogshead before bottling at 50% “Exclusive” to the G&M shop in Elgin! Mortlach was one of my early researched Malts that I found several knowledgable whisky writers and critics had a penchant for. I bought a bottle of the Flora and Fauna 16 year old, drank it and bought a couple more quickly as it was announced it was being discontinued by Diageo who had plans to ‘premiumise’ Mortlach’s single malt output. The rest as they say is History…

Colour:

Dark ruby and burnished bronze/ old Oloroso (16/20), slow and oily small tears leave loose medium legs

Nose:

Oomph! if I thought yesterday’s GlenDronach was sherried my nose just got served! Masses of leather, dark chocolate, Christmas cake/pudding, crème brulee topping/caramelised sugar and dried fruit, raisins, dates, Morello cherries, orange oil, cranberries, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, star anise and other mulling spices, this has a strong resemblance to mulled wine (or sherry), more dusty cocoa powder and malty barley, a little vanilla extract and some oak wood, chewy!

Taste:

Full bodied, this starts off with a spicy kick of black treacle, ginger and cinnamon, clove oil, nutmeg, black pepper, five spice, malty barley, chocolate covered raisins (rum and sherry soaked) and cranberries (if chocolate covered cranberries exist?), Morello cherries, Christmas pudding, becomes slightly perfumed with orange oil, honey, vanilla preceding orange hot chocolate or mocha, dry tannic wood and stewed tea, slightly meaty, chewy creamy toffee…

Finish:

Long, spiced, sweet then dry, treacle-marinated and spiced smoked oak wood persists

Overall:

A frankly awesome dram from Gordon & MacPhail, like an older cask strength version of the Flora and Fauna Mortlach edition. Not much more is needed to be said.

Score: 94/100

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