Many words were written and many pixels were darkened discussing and dissecting Diageo change of heart with Mortlach and rebooting the entire line up after the move towards premiumization of the distillery failed.
The new line up is back to basics with 700 ml bottles, age statements and using more sherry casks to restore some of the glory Mortlach achieved with their meaty and sherry whiskies.
The entry level in this new line up is the 12 Year Old which employ both ex-bourbon casks and ex-sherry casks. It’s named ‘The Wee Witchie‘ after the smallest Mortlach pot still (must be because it’s the youngest offering in the new line up).
Nose: Bright, fresh and sweet with vanilla and sweet berries, strawberry, raspberry and gooseberry – lightly jammy. Cinnamon and cloves, cereals almost cake-y, oak spice, all-spice and nutmeg. After a few minutes lovely red apples peels and meatiness.
Palate: Softer spiciness with nuttiness (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg) and oak spice. Sweet, apple peels, honey, vanilla , far more gentler fruitiness in the background with strawberry and raspberry, ending with oak spice. More Mortlach meatiness than the nose reveals.
Finish: Medium length, sweet, apples peels, nutty and spicy with heavy dose of oak spice
Thoughts: A solid whisky and it’s a right step on the road towards a proper Mortlachness. There’s some meatiness and gentle sherry influence but the balance here tilt towards the bourbon casks and the result is a lighter variation of Mortlach which won’t satisfy those who looks for old time Mortlachs.