‘Pick ’n’ mix’
N: Decay! I learnt [and remembered] that smell from the nosing set at Dornoch castle, although stumbling across a large pile of deer carcasses on the Isle of Jura one autumn was on another, unfortunately unforgettable level of decay. Anyway, back to life - this Mortlach has decay on a ‘funky level’ - a lot like [independent] Clynelish can be, and with a wide flavour profile. Many sugars [pectin, candy, molasses, sherry, sugar cane,..], and plenty of spices too [dry & steeped], vegetal, floral, grassy crops, a little dairy, lemon curd, numerous woods [types, finishes and treatments], some meatiness, nuttiness also,… pick ’n’ mix!
T: Sweet decay and plenty of sweet=sour cream - sign of age. Moves towards a sweet, nutty-vegetal chew with fruits developing later - boozy, ripe, fruits thrown in a sherry punch bowl. Marzipan into the finish.
F: Marzipan to liquorice & mint. After a few days I’m picking up caramel-chocolate notes but its notes of Madeira [and maybe a little Fino] sherry that are firmest. Plenty of controlled wood yet with tannins at the read and some oily crisps on the finish - but on the whole, not too distracting.
C: By its very nature a mixed bag, of treats in the main - not altogether harmonious but certainly expressive. This could be a ‘gateway’ malt for those looking for a step up from standard [supermarket] bottlings, given its speak-easy yet colourful character and competitive price at £80 [July ’16] - although it’s no match for the similarly priced An Cnoc 22yo WB
Scores a B-