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So much whisky, so little time | Singapore | Tasting Notes

Mortlach revamp

By now scotch enthusiasts worldwide should have gotten wind of Diageo’s plans with Mortlach, key blending component and hitherto under the radar star.

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Mortlach, mid-90s.

Mortlach-2

(photo acknowledgement to Christer Sundin)

A recap:

New range

The new Mortlach range will consist of 4 bottlings,

Mortlach Rare old – NAS, bottled at a family traditional but middling 43.4%, taken from First Fill, Refill and Re-charred American and European Oak Casks

Mortlach Special Strength – Duty Free exclusive, same whisky as the ‘Rare Old’ but at a higher ABV (49%).

Mortlach 18yo – bottled at 43.4%, taken from first fill and refill European oak, with ‘just a little’ refill American oak for good measure.

Mortlach 25yo – bottled at 43.4%, taken from refill American oak hoggies.

(source: read more about it at the excellent Master of Malt)

The downside is we won’t have any more of this:

IMG_2124

Mortlach, Flora & Fauna, 16 yo

Distillery expansion

Mortlach itself will be expanded, and by ‘expanded’, thank God Diageo values Mortlach’s character so much, an exact copy of the still set up, including ‘Wee Witchie’ and worm tubs will be added.

Why is this a big deal? Because Mortlach operates possibly the most complex distillation process, resulting in new make that has been distilled ‘2.81 times’.

Mortlach distillation

By comparison, for an example of a regular scotch whisky double distillation, simply look at the No.3 Wash and No.3 Spirit stills above.

This convoluted process, and the fact that Mortlach is one of the last distilleries retaining a tradition worm tub to cool the heart vapours,  impart its naturally heavy, structured nature, with more than a hint of something savoury, even meaty some say, that blenders so crave after. Insiders often attribute this quality specifically to No.1 Spirit still, otherwise known as the ‘wee witchie’ for its short, fat but otherwise diminutive size, through which the tails from Wash stills 1 and 2 are thrice distilled and only then is the heart cut taken. The truth is (I guess) the whole idiosyncratic process is what gives Mortlach its character, not forgetting first fill sherry casks, but no true aficionado would have it any other way.

Presenting ‘wee witchie’:

img_0688_800

In the spirit of giving credit where credit is due, Springbank and Benrinnes are also noteworthy of having complex distillation regimes.

Seems apt that whiskyrific should now have a Mortlach tasting, and indeed I shall, but first, picture porn of what now looks to be a new classic.

IMG_2126

Mortlach 1971, OB, 32 yo

And yes, it’s mine.

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This entry was posted on December 4, 2013 by in Mortlach and tagged , , .
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