The Mortlach release in this year’s Special Releases is a 21 year-old finished in Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso seasoned casks. Just a finish, so we expect a slightly toned down version of last year’s Mortlach 26 Years.
Mortlach 21 yo 1999 (56,9%, OB Special Releases 2020, PX & Oloroso seasoned cask finish, 7692 btl.)
Nose: surprisingly mild and naked, even a little generic. It shows plenty of malty notes, oranges and golden raisins, as well as some oak polish. Ginger and citrus. Growing golden syrup in the background, a little pineapple and fig too. There’s an uncommon lightness to this spirit and the sherry casks are pretty shy as well.
Mouth: a more firm character now, but mostly because of the high ABV, I would say. Just a certain hint of meatiness. Melons and lemons, lightly caramelized malt, hints of chocolate. Nutmeg and ginger, with a little mint. Then rather big resinous notes and polished leather, mixed with slightly bitter oak char.
Finish: long, with yellow apples, more nutmeg and other spices.
If the purpose was to show a different, leaner kind of Mortlach, then well done. However those who expect the typical Mortlach weight may be disappointed. Not a personal favourite this year: difficult to score and too expensive for what you’re getting. Available from The Whisky Exchange for instance, or your local retailer.