Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Mortlach 1991 Signatory Vintage

A Tasty Dram whisky blog tasting notes


A beastly Spanish fury that'll set you on fire

Mortlach Distillery is one of the six active distilleries in Dufftown.  It was here that Glenfiddich's William Grant learnt the ropes of the trade for almost 20 years.

Just like Springbank they distill their spirit two and a halve times. Miss Whisky Alwynne Gwilt could have a look behind the scenes and explains knowledgeably  this process on her blog.

You will not find many official Mortlach bottlings apart from a few pricey Manager's Choice and the well known 16 year old Flora & Fauna. Most of the spirit is used to blend into Johnnie Walker Black label.


This is something that's going to change in the near future; Diageo announced four  new official expressions that "will define luxury for single malt".

Identity Card Signatory Vintage Mortlach 1991

  • Owner: Diageo
  • 20 years old
  • bottled by Signatory Vintage (Cask Strength Collection)
  • distilled October 1st 1991,  matured in  sherry butt #7706 and bottled on January 11th 2012
  • Bottle 77 of 577
  • Alcohol: 56.4%
  • Speyside
Signatory Vintage Mortlach 1991
Picture: The Whisky Exchange (FYI: this is not the same single cask)


Tasting notes

Color: 20 years of maturing in sherry butts leaves this dram with a rich amber colour. Tears form into slow legs on the side of the glass.

Nose: Honestly, in a blind test I'm not that sure I would catalog this as a whisky. I could as well guess it's a grappa or a vieille prune. An abundance of grapes and raisins.  Some sweet prunes, dates and orangettes.  Water enhances the fruity flavours of raisins.

Taste: You're up to something if you dare drink this one undiluted. Dark chocolate, pink pepper and a whiff of cinnamon. Prunes and dates are softening the whisk a bit. Water does not seem to have a flavour changing effect on it.

Finish: The spiciness of cinnamon and pink pepper will linger in your mouth for a long time. One can survive a cold winter evening with one dram.

Conclusion: Mortlach was on my wish list for quite a while.  The wait was rewarded with a fruity whisky, nicely balanced by spicy and crisp flavours. It can take quite some water, due to its high ABV.

Since this Signatory Cask Strength was bottled in 2012, there won't be many of bottles out there in the wild. I bought this one at Jurgen's Whiskyhuis for € 95. Had to wait 2 months for the order, but it was worth it.
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