Mortlach 11yo 1992/2004 (46%, Douglas McGibbon, Provenance, Autumn/Summer, DMG 627)

Talisker Storm is essentially a young Whisky, one of today’s NAS-expressions. A decade ago, this 11yo Mortlach would be considered a young Whisky and back then we hardly ever heard of NAS-Whiskies to boot. Mortlach is known for its unique distilling regime where the Whisky in the bottle was distilled 2.6 times. Mortlach is also known for dark and dirty Sherry bottlings. Mostly first fill and Oloroso. Just have a look at this Wilson & Morgan Mortlach. So Mortlach fits in the group of Macallan (of old), Aberlour, Glendronach and Longmorn.

However, here we have a rather pale expression of Mortlach bottled by Douglas Laing, from the time Fred and Stewart were still running a business together. Douglas Laing had essentially three series of bottlings. Provenance, Old Malt Cask and Old & Rare (better known as the Platinum-bottlings). There were some more, but lets stick to these three better known ones, shall we? Provenance was mostly reduced to 43% and later 46%, Old Malt Cask to 50% (if possible) and generally older and more special. Finally Old & Rare-expressions were cask strength en even older still (and extra special). Maybe there are some exceptions but in my mind all were single cask bottlings. Here we’ll try a young and very pale Mortlach from the least expensive series of the three. Young-ish and reduced.

mortlach-provenance-11yo-1992-2004Color: White Wine.

Nose: Fresh, soft and fruity. Some barley and definitely some citrus notes. Very fresh and “summery”. Hints of bread, mocha and nuts, but also a chewy, green oaky note. Vegetal. Green leaves and perfumy. Hints of dishwater and latex paint as well, which really isn’t as bad as it sounds. Powdery and dusty, in part like the smell of old books, some leather and cold gravy. Warm butter and vanilla pudding. Quite a lot happening here, and a bit dirty alright. Although all of the aroma’s I’m picking up here, are pretty different, the whole is well-balanced. They mix together well. Mortlach is known for a meaty element (from Sherry casks), but that is lacking here.

Taste: Barley again and a lot of the vegetal, green and oak notes. Chewy again and it has a short sharp edge from the oak. It’s almost like virgin oak this, with a bite. A little bitter woody bite. Don’t think now this is a bitter Whisky, because it isn’t. The bite itself is extremely short, leaving room for a very soft and mellow Whisky. Cannabis and vanilla. Creamy, with cookie dough and chocolate-chip cookies as well. Sweet(ish) and fruity. The taste of this Mortlach is less complex than the nose. Judging by the color, the cask didn’t seem all that active, but it did impair a lot of the woody notes, so it probably was an easy pick when considering bottling a younger Whisky. Hey, but it’s not all (soft) wood notes, there is also some coconut, nutty and creamy aroma’s. (something you can also find in some Glen Keith‘s matured in ex-Bourbon casks). It’s fruity as well. Medium nutty and creamy finish, with hints of cannabis (the first time around). With a medium bitter aftertaste giving the whole experience some backbone.

Mortlach is known as a dirty, meaty Sherried Whisky. However, this probably came from an American oak cask that previously held Bourbon. So does the meaty part come from the Sherry then? Well not entirely. Especially on the nose, the distillate, without the influence of (Oloroso or PX) Sherry casks, still shows a meaty aroma. Cold gravy I called it, and dirty. It doesn’t taste as a dirty meaty Mortlach to me though. Remarkably soft, and pretty decent overall, yet nothing special as well.

Points: 81

Glengoyne Week – Day 6: Glengoyne 19yo 1985/2004 ‘Summer’ (52.6%, OB, Cask #608, 606 bottles)

After the cold, cold winter we actually had (are still having), with lots of snow, I guess it’s time for a nice long hot summer! First day of spring went by some time ago, and it still was snowing on that day, so I guess we all need a bit of summer in our lives. Unlike yesterday’s 1984, 1985 is a year more common to find a Glengoyne from. In 2006 Glengoyne even bottled a sister cask of this ‘Summer’ edition, that was a Butt, so it’s probably safe to assume, that this is from a Butt as well.

Color: Dark orange brown.

Nose: Typical musty Sherry. Spicy and leafy. Butter, honey and raisins. Mocha coffee. Coal and tar. This is by far the best dark Sherry cask up untill now in this Glengoyne week. A slightly acidic freshness, like lemon pie inside a raisiny heavily sherried dram. Dusty old polished wood, with ageing lacquer on it. Dark fruits emerge afer a while, Blueberries! Perfect balance and lots of character.

Taste: Big body, spicy with just the right amount of wood, and almonds. Did I say wood? It’s not just any kind of wood, this is tarry wood, steam locomotive wood. Blueberries infused in honey, with some added acidity. Again very balanced stuff this. It reminds me a bit of the great Longmorn’s of the early seventies. Those are legendary, and Glengoyne were able to make this in the mid eighties! Were are it’s sister casks?!?!

This cask was bottled in 2004, so it wasn’t around anymore when the mashmen of Glengoyne made their choices, so let’s call this, this consumers choice.

Points: 91

Thanks go out to Erik (Master Quill’s apprentice) for providing the sample.

Kilchoman 3yo 2006/2010 “Summer 2010” (46%, OB, Fresh and Refill Bourbon Barrels, Circa 17.500 bottles)

Who said Islay Whiskies are only for the Winter? I tasted a lot of Islay whiskies at un winterly temperatures on nice summer evenings and it all tasted very well. Think out of the box. Although Kilchoman are hinting at the season in which the spirit was distilled, This one especially seems to tell us that Islay and summer goes together very well.

Kilchoman releases are abundant and which is what is quite clear. First there were the new make spirit bottles. Next in 2009 they released the Inaugural Release to be the first of the core range. Also from 2009 the second release became “Autumn 2009” next up was “Spring 2010” and after that the fourth release was this “Summer 2010”. Also in 2009 the first Single Cask releases were released at cask strength. From 2011 the Single Cask bottles were released with red labels. In 2012 a Sherry Cask release at 46% ABV was released with a black label. Also from 2012 a new addition to the core range was released called “Manchir Bay”. Last but not least there are a few releases of 100% Islay at 50% ABV, where all ingredients of the whisky were sourced form the island itself. Now it’s time for “Summer 2010” solely from Bourbon Barrels from Buffalo Trace.

Color: White Wine.

Nose: Fresh young peat, lots of peat, but it isn’t so in your face type of peat. Licorice and black and white powder. Citrus, lemon and whiffs of meat, less stak, more gravy. The whole is very nice. The smoke in this goes very well with the citrus part. Who said Islay Whiskies are not suitable for Summer?

Taste: Sweet. Licorice. A sour element which to me isn’t neccesarily citrussy or lemony. This has a little wood with a little bitter touch to it. Hints of paper. Very uncomplex and a beerlike, maybe hoppy finish.

The nose has more balance than the taste, still the potential is obvious. Again I can’t wait for older Kilchomans.

Points: 82

Thanks go out to Erik for sharing the Whisky.