Whisky Tasting Notes: Mortlach 14 yo

By the time we had to pack for our trip home, I had something on the order of fifteen bottles of whisky. Most were the sort you see in the picture above, small 50ml bottles that I’ve since discovered have a collectible market unto themselves. Some of those were gifts for friends and co-workers. Others were rare examples of spirits that would prove difficult to find in the states. The Mortlach 14 year old is just such a drink.

I purchased this bottle upon the advice of Mike Drury of The Whisky Castle in Tomintoul. Before heading over to their store, Krysta and I were warned by the our host that Mr. Drury was “a bit of a character”. This, as we quickly learned, was a bit of an understatement. Mike was opinionated, loud, friendly, and quite the wit. If you ever get to meet the man, all you need to send him on a rant is talk about the addition of caramel coloring to whisky. Then sit back and watch the fun. Be sure you have about 45 minutes to spare, because he will talk.

As he took a phone call, I asked his wife Cathy what labels she could recommend in his stead. She pointed out two bottles, including this fourteen year old Mortlach. Note that no coloring has been added, and it has not been chill filtered, another point of contention Mike has with major whisky producers.

Mortlach is a name that is likely not on the tip of anyone’s tongue when they talk about Single Malt Scotch. This is likely due to the fact that a fair majority of their product ends up in the blends of Johnnie Walker.

Nose: The first thing that hit my nose was a bit of citrus, more lemony than orange. A bit of sherry and a bit of a woody aroma.

Taste: More savory than sweet at first, with a little pepper and a hint of salt.

Finish: Evolved into a sweet vanilla/caramel flavor which carried on for a long while afterwards. Smooth finish, very even.

Overall: A very interesting drink, especially the contrast between the start of the drink and the end.

Here’s where it ranks on my list of preference.

Very Good
Bushmills Black Bush
Bunnahabhain – 12 yr old
Bowmore – 12 yr old
The Macallan – 18 yr old
Mortlach – 14 yr old
Redbreast

Good
Bushmills
Centennial Premium Rye 10 Years Old
The Glenlivet
Jameson
Tyrconnell