1998 “Pastille Bouquet” Mortlach 15 y.o. (Wemyss Malts)
Cask #5402 Bourbon Hogshead
A whisky from the Secret Spirits Advent Calendar First Edition.
Ok. Let’s keep this one short and sweet. We all know Mortlach. No need for a lengthy introduction or distillery background. Just a few personal thoughts. Let’s go…
Mortlach has long been a favorite distillery of mine. Just a bit of a personal affinity. It’s a Speysider, but in my eyes, it’s one which bucks the overly formulaic apple/pear/berry/vanilla/oak trend most Speyside malts (excepting the big sherry bombs) are usually known for. It certainly does bear some or all of those hallmarks, but often injects a little bit of a meaty backbone and an occasional whiff of smoke to mix things up a bit. Mortlach is a malt with character. A malt that I find almost always deserves a good long bit of my attention.
For these reasons, I was tickled pink to open door number 16 and find a 15 year old Wemyss Malts Mortlach. And while this one didn’t light me up like some of the others, it is still a rather sexy dram. I’m probably only disappointed because I have such elevated expectations for this distillery. More accurately, I have expectations regarding what sort of profile I’ll be getting when I pop the cork. This malt is simply not the Mortlach I know. Good? Absolutely. Familiar? Well…not so much. Perhaps that has to do with a lack of sherry influence in the casking here. Most likely, I’d say.
Oh well. Still a cool one to try. While I can’t say I’m behind the new over-marketed and unjustifiably premiumized Diageo abominations, I’m still a sucker for the older indie Mortlachs when available. This was just such a case.
Nose: Lovely candy notes. Dusty potpouri or dried flowers of some sort. Nicely spiced. Grain dust (like being near a mill). Big Turk candy bars. Fuzzy Peach candies (just a hint). If those savoury Mortlach notes are here at all, they’re very faint.
Palate: Maybe just the softest mince, or at least a similar spicy tart note. Apples. There’s a little more fresh fruit, but having trouble putting a pulse to it. Just a vague smokiness. Oak. Pear and apple cider.
Thoughts: Always love trying Mortlach, but increasingly finding variants lacking the meaty notes I associate with the distillery.
Bonus: My mate, Jonathan, and I are gonna blog on these drams side by side through the season. Here’s a link to his notes on the same whisky at SingleMalting.com.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt