Mortlach 1997 14 Year (Hart Brothers)
Hart Brothers // Speyside, Scotland
ScotchingHardTasted* Please note this review is for a different, unlisted bottle of Mortlach. Bottle killed on 2/15/19. Distillery: Mortlach Bottler: Duncan Taylor The Octave 16 years old 54.6% ABV (Cask Strength) Distilled 1997 Bottled 2014 Cask No. 797668 Limited release of 88 bottles Price: 210 USD An Octave cask, as I understand it, is like those 2L mini oak barrels you can buy on Amazon for $49.95 to add some maturation to some shit whiskey you regret buying… but a little bigger. The essential idea, regardless of industry fluff on the boxes, is that the producers are itching for payday, so they took some whisky that wasn’t ready to be bottled, and forced some maturity and character into it by giving it some hard-time in a tiny, cramped cask. Well, it worked. Hey, call it a shortcut, but I’m not going to deny a good tasting whisky. Duncan Taylor must’ve carved themselves out some fine tiny sherry oak staves, because this is a decadent, figgy, honeyed, buttery Mortlach. The waxy, fruity, meaty spirit character is still evident after the sherried arrival. The only complaints are a lack of integration, as this feels like two separate whiskies; and a lackluster finish. The sherry drops off quickly, and you are left with a little harshness that betrays the lack of maturity that the sherry finish was trying to cover up. Some water definitely improves things. I found aiming for around 48% ABV was the sweet spot, smoothing out the transitions and removing the harshness on the finish. You probably won’t be able to find this particular cask. Most, if not all, of the 88 bottles probably ended up in the Hagerstown, MD area. There are multiple other casks of a 16 year old Duncan Taylor Octave Mortlach available in other areas listed on WhiskyBase. I probably won’t be getting another bottle, favoring to try other releases from The Octave series, or other independent bottlings from Mortlach. Real Scotch lovers know that Mortlach is a beast for independent bottlers, and it’s hard to go wrong with any cask strength release with a decent age statement. Rating (price not a factor): 93 / 100 Purchase satisfaction (price factored): 4 / 5210.0 USD per Bottle
LeeEvolvedTasted* This review is for another independent bottling by Classic Cask, not the Hart Bros listed. This one is 11 years old. Come on Distiller- give your users the ability to create entries already... Speyside distillery Mortlach is heavily used in Johnnie Walker blends. I think it brings the lighter characteristics and helps balance out any offending or harsh flavors to a lot of their blends. This sample is an independent bottling from Classic Cask. It’s a youthful 11 years old and was bottled at 46%. The fact this malt is still light on just about every aspect shows just how easy drinking this stuff really is. It’s so pale in the glass it’s almost transparent with light lemon meringue pie notes on the nose. There’s weak vanilla and butterscotch here, too. Nothing overpowering, almost boring. The palate is buttery with some citrusy lemon that leads into fresh cut oak spirals. Little to no burn, even at 46%. I can see why JW uses this malt heavily. The finish is medium in length, oaky and somewhat dry. Don’t add water- hell, don’t even breathe heavily near the Glencairn. Thanks to Jason for providing this relatively expensive ($90) sample. It’s definitely not worth the price but it does make a nice and easy entry into a relaxed tasting session. 3 star, middle of the road rating, is perfect here. Cheers.
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