Having started the month with a review of an Allt-a-Bhainne let’s end the the week with another Speyside distillery; and let’s get back to K&L’s recent parcel of casks with a Mortlach bottled by Old Particular. I did a week of reviews of Mortlach in May. Those included a 20 yo refill sherry cask, a 12 yo sherry cask (also bottled for K&L), and a 10 yo bourbon cask. I liked the two sherry casks more than the bourbon cask then. Was that a function of the cask type or the age? Today’s Mortlach is 15 years old and from a refill hogshead. It’s both older than the 10 yo and at cask strength. Let’s see if I like it any better.
Mortlach 15, 2006 (56.7%; Old Particular for K&L; refill hogshead; from a bottle split)
Nose: Cereals, dusty oak and then rapidly expanding lemon peel and zest, getting quite oily as it goes. As it sits there’s some of what we call ber in India—jujube in English? Anyway, there’s some tart-sweet red fruit. With time there’s some plum mixed in there too. A few drops of water and the lemon peel/oil recedes a bit; there’s more of the ber/jujube along with some ham brine.
Palate: Comes in with the citrus and the cereals; the oak is less pronounced here. Nice oily texture and very approachable at full strength. Pretty consistent from sip to sip but I feel water may make this uncoil. Let’s give it a bit more air first. Some salt shows up but nothing else. Okay, time for a bit of water. Less citrus and more brine with water but the savoury note that showed up on the nose doesn’t follow through. As it sits there’s a bit of chalk and a medicinal character—nothing phenolic/peaty, more like an antacid dissolved in water—and more of the cereals.
Finish: Long. Nothing new here: just the oily lemon peel and then the salt. As on the palate with water; maybe a bit sweeter.
Comments: Well, this didn’t quite uncoil as I hoped it might with water but I quite like it anyway. This profile is not likely to be a crowd-pleaser, being more on the austere end of things. It’s not quite as austere as Wednesday’s Allt-a-Bhainne but it’s in the general vicinity. That might explain why it’s still around.
Rating: 85 points.