This Mortlach 1998 was hand-picked by The Whisky Exchange from the Signatory stocks. It is technically a single cask but not quite. Apparently multiple bourbon hogsheads were poured into a single Oloroso sherry butt for a period of 54 months – quite an extensive finish indeed. A sister cask #4 was released on the German market.
Mortlach 18 yo 1998 (55,8%, Signatory Vintage for The Whisky Exchange 2016, sherry finish, cask #5, 681 btl.)
Nose: very leathery, with rather sharp hints of fresh oak and menthol. Then juicy plums and red berries, as well as some clove oil. Blackcurrants and thick syrup. It’s muscular, with something of a heavy Trinidad rum, but not exactly meaty or sulphury, it’s full of polished woods, with a high bourbon influence and a high sherry influence. Earthy notes underneath. A slightly acidic lemony note too. Complex.
Mouth: very big whisky. Lots of peppery heat, cinnamon pastry and fig syrup. Deep roasted notes, hints of tobacco and liquorice. Quite beefy now, more typical. Hints of Seville oranges, herbs and slightly tannic oak. A powerhouse.
Finish: long, fairly dry and warming. Pepper, nuts and traces of juicy fruits.
This is a big spirit, influenced by two very active casks. A bit of a designer whisky maybe, but a rich, complex powerhouse. I’m not a Mortlach fan but I find this pretty great – surprisingly still available from The Whisky Exchange. Around € 135 – recommended.