Not all Mortlachs were born alike. For many years, Mortlach and Gordon & MacPhail were synonymed for their semi-official releases back in the days before the official lineup from the distillery. The 15 Year Old and the 21 Year Old Mortlachs from G&M were (and are) a classic example of what Mortlach is all about – meaty sherried whisky like no other.
In late 2018, as part of the re-branding of the Distillery Labels series, G&M launched a new member for the Mortlach line up. Now in addition to the 15 and 21 Year Old whiskies we now had a new top of the line expression – a new 25 Year Old Mortlach.
Since I liked the 15 and 21 Year Old versions a lot, I was very eager to taste the new 25 Year Old, hoping it will deliver similar experience yet more complex and refined.
Does it deliver?
Mortlach 25 Year Old – G&M Distillery Labels (43%, £175/€178,90/$149.99)
Nose: Not so meaty as I expected considering the other members in this family, honey, dried berries and then some meatiness. Balanced and well defined, everything’s sharp, meat, oak spice, pepper, Biltong, raspberry and red gooseberry. After a few minutes there’s soft cinnamon buns, vanilla buns and nutmeg.
Palate: White pepper, spices, bittersweet dried fruit, soursweet berries, dried meat, cinnamon, oak spice, nutmeg, fruitiness is subtle and spice is leading here.
Finish: Medium length, spicy, lingering slightly bitter oak spices, a slab of dried meat, dried berries, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Thoughts: This is not what I expected from this matured Mortlach. The classic G&M 15 and 21 year old Mortlachs provided a meatier and sherrier (I know it’s not a real word but it rhymes and you do get the meaning, right?) while this new 25 Year Old is a more modern offering with sharpness and far more focus on the spices. Did I like it? Not a lot – the truth is that I was disappointed. I expected something along the lines of the others (and old) G&M Mortlach releases but more complex and this one isn’t doing the job, not to mention the heftier price tag.