Used as the cornerstone of the 20th Century’s most iconic blends, Mortlach was the best kept secret of the world of whisky for 70 years. A mysterious liquid that’s dark and complex, this single malt whisky defied the taste conventions defined by its origin region.
Hailing from Scotland’s Speyside region, one that is known to produce whiskies with a light-bodied taste profile, Mortlach earned its reputation as the “Beast of Dufftown” because of its distinct and thick character spirit. Mortlach’s flavours are the result of an enigmatic distillation process called “The Way”, drilled down and perfected to a science by Dr. Alexander Cowie.
Mortlach is distilled exactly 2.81 times – 0.81 times more than is Scotch tradition. The distillation process takes place in 6 copper stills of completely different shapes. The spirit then passes through a meticulously fashioned tangle of copper pipes, angled so exactingly that any slight adjustment will cause the copper to turn blue.
Mortlach 12 has been matured in both European and American oak to enhance its distinctively rich and robust character. It is deep amber in color, with a nose that’s incredibly rich and deep, immediately warming to tasty oak tones, similar to warm wood shavings. There is a wonderful stone fruit element that tends to move towards a honey note, and then on to cooked fruits, all while maintaining a big yet balanced woody note.
Similar to Mortlach 12, Mortlach 16 has a deep amber color, and a rich and deep nose, albeit initially shy. It then opens up to the scent of stewed black and orchard fruits, with earthy notes, spice, and honeyed sweetness. The first sip reveals Mortlach 16 to be big and deep, but also quite sweet, likened to that of toffee, dried apricots, and honey.
Highly complex and contemplative, sipping Mortlach 20 brings the mature depth into focus, starting with the aromatic taste of overripe fruits, then a touch of spice, finally expanding to a meaty element with a hint of espresso at the back. Old copper in color, bringing a glass to the nose welcomes an initially dense and rich aroma, with earthy notes and a meaty element not far behind. It then delivers the smell of varnish, leather oil, wood resin, and an added oiliness only present in mature whiskies.
“Most of the whiskies in the market are either smoky, or smooth, or peaty. When you think of flavourful whisky, you automatically think it’s going to be smoky,” shares Rian Asiddao, Diageo Reserve Brand Ambassador. “What Mortlach offers is completely different – a bold tasting liquid, but without the big smoke, perfect for those who are looking for another dimension of flavour.”