Whisky Advent Calendar: Day 16

16 12 2014

On Day 16 of this Advent quest, I will admit that I’m getting a bit of whisky fatigue.  I still appreciate the little bottles and the flavour complexity and the chance to learn more about the various distilleries, and I feel like I’m starting to get better at picking out hints left behind by various production and aging choices, but my sense of wonder is starting to come up a bit short.  My first note about my first sniff of tonight’s whisky was simply:  “Sherry NOOOOOOO!!” — and sure enough, the Gordon & Macphail bottling of Mortlach 15 Year Speyside Single Malt scotch was aged in refill sherry casks.  I need a bit of an Oloroso vacation.

Just bask in that box.  You can't look away.

Just bask in that box. You can’t look away.

But enough negativity.  Obviously the greatest part about the Mortlach distillery is that it sounds like a Tolkien villain.  Excellent (and evil) name choice.  Coming up close behind in terms of awesome is the hyper-cool tartan box this whisky came in; all whiskies should have their own tartans.  Gordon & Macphail are well-known bottlers, previously seen back in Day 1 of this calendar, who pair up with distilleries and allow for a wider range of releases to hit the market; G&M has over 300 single malt bottlings on the market right now.  This Mortlach was distilled exactly 2.5 times (I’m not sure what half a distillation looks like…do they just turn the still off halfway through?) and retails for a slightly pricy $95.

I’ve now laid the groundwork for the tasting notes, but the result will be a little anticlimactic, as the Mortlach was very mild across the board, perfectly pleasant but probably equally forgettable.  It took a while to pull any aromas at all out of this reluctant whisky apart from a faint hint of the sea that took me to my sherry cask guess, but eventually this was joined by violets, hand soap, oatmeal and maple.  The taste was predominantly grainy, wheat and barley, punctuated by almond brittle, sultana crackers (hopefully someone other than me remembers those), orange zest and vanilla.  But all of these smells and flavours have the volume dial set to 4, so the overall result comes across as rather muted.  I think I need a whisky pick-me-up…maybe Day 17 will oblige?

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2 responses

16 12 2014
Pauline Wong

I was going to say I look forward to each night’s whisky review as much you look forward to the tasting, but after tonight’s review … umm, maybe not. Keep fighting the good fight. Peter. A heartfelt thank-you from those of us living vicariously through your (mis?)adventures with the advent calendar.

17 12 2014
petervetsch

Thanks a lot, Pauline!

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