As you may remember from Monday’s review, this week is a Mortlach week. This in order to try to redress the weak impression people who don’t know the distillery’s spirit well may have received from last Friday’s review of the official 14 yo for travel retail. Well, while Monday’s 10 yo release from Signatory was better, it didn’t exactly light my hair on fire either. Will that happen with today’s 12 yo? On the plus side, it is a sherry butt and Mortlach generally shows its best side with heavy sherry maturation. On the less than plus side, this was bottled for K&L and sold for just about $60. A seeming good deal at K&L can often/sometimes (depending on your point of view) be too good to be true. Hopefully this is not one of those cases. Certainly, I was not overly impressed by the last cask of K&L Mortlach I reviewed—which, like Monday’s Signatory, was also a bourbon cask. Was this one leftover in my stash from that same round of casks or did I acquire it in a separate bottle split? I can’t remember. Anyway, let’s see what it’s like.
Mortlach 12, 2008 (58%; Sovereign; sherry butt; from a bottle split)
Nose: Rich sherry (orange peel, rum-soaked raisins) with some dusty oak behind and then some beef bouiillon. Saltier with each sniff with the dusty oak expanding and picking up some leather. With a few drops of water there’s quite a bit of apricot to go with the orange peel and the meaty note turns towards Cantonese roast duck.
Palate: Comes in with dried orange peel and oak with some pencil lead in there too. Just about approachable at full strength; full texture. More pencil lead on the second sip. Picks up some plum as it sits and the leather pops out earlier. Okay, time to add some water. Water brings out more of the orange peel and the plum and melds them nicely with the oak and leather.
Finish: Long. The oak and graphite lead the way and then it gets quite leathery as it goes, ending on a bracing bitter note (it works somehow). Just a slight bit of sherry separation at the very end as I get that taste of blood in my mouth.
Comments: I rather liked this, especially with air and then water. It’s one to take your time with—and I suspect that those with full bottles will have seen them improve as they drank/drink them down. Speaking of a full bottle, I wish I could have picked one up at $60, which—for all the shit I give K&L—was in fact a very good price for a sherried malt like this one.
Rating: 87 points. (Pulled up by water.)