Mortlach 28, 1989 (Faultline)

And here is the last of my five reviews of recent K&L casks. The score so far is 3-1: I really liked the Bowmore 20 and the Bunnahabhain 25, and thought the Bunnahabhain 28 was solid; it was only the Mortlach 22 that I was not crazy about. Well, this is also a Mortlach and, like the Bunnahabhain 28, it’s also a Faultline. Which way will it go? Let’s see.

Mortlach 28, 1989 (42.5%; Faultline; first-fill sherry hogshead; from a bottle split)

Nose: Raisins, a bit of orange and some oak. With time the orange expands a bit but there’s not much of note happening here. With more time still there’s some toffee. With a few drops of water the fruit expands significantly: orange and apricot.

Palate: Generic sherry. Not too oaky. The texture is pretty flat. A little spicier on the second sip but not more interesting. With more time the fruit expands a bit—there’s some apricot now. Thinner and oakier on the palate with water and the sherry separates a bit too.

Finish: Medium. The sherry notes fade out slowly; gets spicier as it goes. As on the palate with water.

Comments: This is pleasant enough but there’s no sign here either of Mortlach’s signature meaty quality; and it’s not particularly full of any kind of character. $150 for a 28 yo sounds great, but you can get most of what this offers far more cheaply in younger malts, and better than what this offers a little less cheaply in others (for example, there is absolutely no reason to buy this over the Highland Park 18 or, for that matter, the Bunnahabhain 18). Water giveth on the nose but taketh away on the palate and finish.

Rating: 84 points.

Well, I have to admit this was, on the whole, a solid set of casks. The two Mortlachs are the weak links and the two Bunnahabhains are the best deals. If they weren’t sold out, I’d seriously consider the Bunnahabhain 25. If the Bowmore were $20 cheaper, I’d pick one of those up (I think it’s still available).


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