05 Aug 2011
Mortlach 1936 (Gordon & MacPhail)
Tasting notes by Ruben Luyten - Posted in Mortlach
There are several versions of this Mortlach 1936 bottled by Gordon & MacPhail. It’s one of the youngest I could find, other bottlings are 45 or even 50 years old. G&M released an impressive amount of 1930’s Mortlach over the years.
Mortlach 35 yo 1936 (43%, G&M Connoisseur’s Choice for Pinerolo Import 1972, 75 cl)
Nose: wow, very fragrant. The more ‘direct’ notes are those of old leather, coal smoke, prunes and library dust. There’s a sherried fruitiness, with fruit compote and plum jam, but it’s pushed aside by this lovely pre-war style of coals, herbs and oils. I couldn’t possibly mention everything, but I also noted eucalyptus, pine resin, fruit cake, camphor, tobacco, herbal liqueur, raspberry ganache, mint, cedar, caramelized sugar… All of this on a background of typical 1940’s-1950’s blend notes. Mouth: the first thing that struck me was “babelutte”, a kind of hard butter toffee typical for the Belgian coast. Quite spectacular. Then the other notes appear: smoke, wax, sultanas, almonds, mint, red fruit gums, Turkish delight… It keeps developing on toffee / mocha / chocolate notes, really great. Hardly any oak, hardly any bitter notes, no dryness whatsoever – rather perfect. Maybe a few metallic notes but very few considering it spent nearly 40 years in glass. Actually it’s an asset here. Finish: really long, with smoke and soft resin. Hints of tea as well.
It doesn’t require an elaborate conclusion to know this was exceptional. Pre-war whisky, from directly fired stills, with old-style sherry and smoke harmoniously mixed. Try to taste this kind of whisky before it’s gone forever! Value of the bottle: not sure, around € 1000? Heartfelt thanks Johannes.