Mortlach is a distillery that I can’t really get to grips with. Differences between ages, casks and profiles tend to be big, which makes it difficult to say “I like Mortlach” or “I don’t like Mortlach”.
I don’t like the heavy, meaty, sometimes sulphury sherry matured Mortlach, but recent ex-bourbon releases are much brighter and more to my liking. Let’s see what this Mortlach 1996 from Sansibar whisky is like.
Mortlach 18 yo 1996 (51,2%, Sansibar 2014, bourbon cask, 186 btl.)
Nose: rich and sweet. Lots of juicy gooseberries, apples and orange peel. Also a nice (cooked) banana / coconut combo. Hints of vanilla cake. Soft hints of Scottish tablet and barley husks. Just a touch of mint as well.
Mouth: oily mouthfeel. Compared to the nose, the palate goes slightly off the beaten track. Still subtle fruity hints (more apple / orange blossom than the actual fruits now), but also lots of salty liquorice and other herbal notes. Almost peaty. Tobacco leafs. Soft lemon zest and a bit of a tequila sharpness.
Finish: medium long, spicy and herbal, with some walnuts.
Definitely not one of the bad Mortlachs, but not entirely balanced either, in my opinion. The nose seems bright and inviting, whereas the taste is more about herbs and sharper notes. Around € 100.