Saturday, 6 September 2014

Mortlach 15yo Gordon & MacPhail

The Great Disappointment


Don't let the images fool you, this is not a comparison between the old and the new. This review is all about their alternative.: the Mortlach 15yo Gordon & MacPhail, a bottle that is hard to find here in Belgium, but it can easily be found in let's say a Tesco somewhere in the Highlands. 
I picked this one up in Oban, while waiting for the ferry to Port Askaig ( the Islay report will follow shortly, I promise)

I really liked its older brother, the famous 16yo Flora & Fauna, so the stakes are high. Mortlach has been the subject of controversy these last months as the old bottling that we all knew and loved was replaced by a few NAS- versions, packaged in an expensive perfume bottle. Maybe I'm a little too grumpy for my own good here, as I haven't even tried the new versions yet. But I guess I've arrived at that stage in the life of a malt enthusiast, where melancholia clouds the rational mind. 
Thus it might be usefull so let's well how this one holds up and if it could be a cheaper replacement of its older brother.

The Whisky

Nose: Malted barley, sherry, notes of milk and biscuits with a touch of spice, oak and faint hints of citrus. All this served on a powerful layer of vanilla cream.
Mouth: creamy and syrupy on the palate: with tones of biscuits and malted barley, white chocolate and raisins, shades of of nutmeg and black pepper, a dash of sherry and of course the elements of toasted oak that brings forth the dominant layers of spicy vanilla
(Luckily a drop of water removes much of the vanilla)

Finish: Medium, but smooth as butter, with notes of oak and ginger.

The Verdict 

I'm not going to lie, this is not what I expected and definitely not my style. 
What I miss here is the fruity flavours and that meaty quality of Mortlach. Yes, I get some sherry notes along the way, but I find it quite astounding that this was matured in a refill sherry cask: it has  American oak written all over it.
Don't get me wrong, this is not necessarily a bad whisky, I recon that this is a quite the rich whisky, layered and rounded, with a creamy texture and notes of oak and vanilla that may appeal to a lot of people, 

But not me.

The disappointment that I felt after trying this whisky is most likely the main cause of the low score that I attributed to this whisky.
Maybe it was just a bad bottle, but this G&M is not worthy of liking the boots of the 16yo F&F.

Score: 79