Like it’s meant to be. It was my birthday 2 weeks ago and my brother in law presented me with a Mortlach 12yo, my wife gave me an 11yo bottled by Signatory and as a cherry on top, we received a mystery package by the Italian bottler My Name is Whisky. Until then, my only encounter with Mortlach was through festivals and a 1997 piece by another Italian bottler called Wilson & Morgan.
The stars aligned and there couldn’t be a better moment to get to know Mortlach a little better. The tasting session began with the official bottling and ended with this 22yo dram, made to honour Giorgio D’Ambrosio, one of the first to bring whisky from Scotland to Italy back in the 1960s. Normally we’d start reviewing bottom up, but why not go all-in and start with the absolute winner of this tasting session?
This Mortlach is distilled in 1997, has matured on sherry oak and is bottled at cask strength (56.9% ABV) in 2019:
The nose is waxy and perfumed in a way. Lush aromas of dried fruits, chestnuts, apricots and mushrooms fill the air. There’s a hint of metal and dried meat, soaked oak and vanilla. And lastly, an almost briny and herbal layer to make it complete.
The palate is one of the most wonderful we’ve encountered, with carefully balanced notes of wood, raisins and dried fruits. Cherries, vanilla pods and a handful of nuts coat the mouth with goodness.
Then there’s the finish, which lasts forever. At first there’s lots of nuts, mainly hazelnuts. With chocolate coated raisins. It gets a little lighter with vanilla ice cream, grapes and cake icing in the middle. And then there’s a final wave of meat, dried fruits, spiced old wood and licorice.
This is one of those whiskies which leaves you wondering; is there anything else I could ask for in a whisky? Sure, that we had more of it! That’s the only answer we, sherried whisky lovers, could think of.
If we could afford this one (it went for around €600), we would pile up. Is it worth it? Arguably, but sadly it’s a bit above our budget. Let’s put it another way, would we replace 6 €100 bottles to trade it with this one? If we had the chance: I’m sure we would.