Mortlach 1971 41 Year Distillery Labels (Gordon & MacPhail)
Gordon & MacPhail Distillery Labels // Speyside, Scotland
cascodeTastedNose: Heavy, pungent and dense. Mineral oil, linseed oil, olive oil, dark stewed fruits, plum pudding, red berries, mango, rancio, brown sugar and fudge are the aromas encountered immediately after pouring the dram. Over time the nose blooms with a host of dark sherried fruit and oak notes appearing. After about half an hour of rest in the glass its full sweet fruity character is revealed as it relaxes, and there is a dash of wintergreen in the distance. After considerable time you begin to clearly sense oak casks and slowly they obtain a cresote note and the aroma of salmiak. This is when it is at its prime. Palate: A big, spiced herbal sherry arrival. Sweet at first but then gaining a grippy dry tannic quality in the development. Pepper, allspice, ginger powder, anise, menthol and cloves appear from the darkness and slowly move forward (all facets of very old tannin decomposition). Coffee, bitter Seville marmalade, wood (!), varnish (!), sulphery blackstrap molasses, sour cherries and licorice follow up as the dram begins to open. The texture is rich to start with but as the palate progresses into dryness it becomes a little thin and loses "weight" - this is the single fault I can find. Finish: Long. Drying and waxy, almost astringent before returning to sweetness. Black coffee, dark chocolate, cigar tobacco and herbal flavours linger on the palate. Like any very old whisky this dram needs considerable time to open. Give it at least 30 minutes in the glass but nose it continually and take a tiny sip occasionally, both to dial your palate in and also to experience how profoundly it changes with time. Water is optional, but if adding any just make it a drop or two. Old whisky is fragile and you can easily spoil it. Just a drop adds texture and sweetness here, but too much will emphasize the tannins and unbalance the profile. If in doubt, take it neat. Often referred to as "The Beast of Dufftown", this colourful sobriquet may at first seem disparaging, but it is invariably a term of affection and respect when used by aficinados of Mortlach. It's almost always a substantial whisky, rich in profile and solid in structure with uncompromising characteristics. The usual maturation regime is in ex-sherry casks and it is much sought-after by blenders for its ability to contribute gravitas to a blend. Mortlach was unavailable as an official bottling for a long time but several independent bottlers, particularly Gordon & Macphail, have had contracts to release licensed bottlings since the distillery was owned by Distillers Company Limited. In fact you could say that these licensed companies were the de facto core range producers for over half a century. This supurb old-school whisky is an excellent example of The Beast at its rumbling, difficult best. I'd recommend a taste to any enthusiast, but it might be too uncompromising for beginners. If you do have the chance to try a sample and find it too resinous, astringent and woody then try the younger Gordon & Macphail expressions that have less intense cask influence. I'm particularly partial to the 15 year old bottling which is very good value for money. Tasted from a 30ml sample supplied by @Soba45, who was saving the bottle for a special occasion but wisely realized that every good day is a special day. Slainte, mate. "Excellent" : 4.5 stars
PBMichiganWolverineTastedThis was a pour provided graciously by @Soba45 ...sent all the way across 4000 miles of the Pacific, and then 3000 miles over US. Having something from a bygone era is a luxurious treat. And having something this old, is even more of a treat. I’ve had maybe 3-4 single malts in the 40+ yr category, and one thing is fairly consistent across those: the quality is far beyond what we’re seeing today, especially in the casks. I just got it this week, and I was looking forward to trying it the minute it showed up. I’m generally not in the habit of having this caliber of drams without something to celebrate. But...my daughter just passed an exam to make it into entering middle school’s advanced math—-a damn difficult exam ( needed straight A’s in class, 95% in a statewide core test, and then a 75%+ in an advanced math test). So—-to me—-that’s ;reason enough. First thing you notice in this is the color. Deep, deep mahogany. Like the best polished wood you’ll ever see. The nose is then pure elegance. Think sitting in an old library. It’s aromas of wood without being overpowering. Those 40+ yrs in sherry did it’s job slowly and steadily. The taste...thick and viscous. Chewy, oily. Now comes the Christmas cake, spices like nutmeg and cloves. Absolutely amazing. I’ve had a few other 40+ yr olds, but never matured solely in sherry. Then again, not many distillates can hold sherry cask this long besides the likes of Macallan, Mortlach, Balvenie, and maybe a few more. This is another once-in-a-lifetime pour. I don’t know what to say—-thanks immensely to @Soba45 for sharing. I know you had a tough year, and this was a “cheers” to see you come out stronger.
Soba45TastedI had bought celebratory bottles of whiskey for my decade birthday anniversaries; 40th, 50th but no further as I didn't want to tempt fate. However on the 1000th taste I thought screw it why wait to open the 50th celebratory bottle, who really knows what is coming for us. After a catch up with mates for a few drinks today reminiscing about good times I came home cracked open a Loch Gorm sample (2018 compared to 2019) then thought screw it...I said I was going to open it albeit in a moment of drunkenness so I will. All of the above flitted through my mind in a nanosecond as I hesitated, before I grabbed the bottle, then pulled it down from the shelf. The box was covered in builders dust from all the wholesale renovations we have going on and I opened the lid and cracked open the bottle. I've always thought blind tasting is the great leveler and it is. Showing up overpriced spirits for what they are. Not necessarily bad but not worth the price premium over other drams. So many times I catch myself rating something that I know I don't like and thinking but it's a xyz, everyone else thinks it's great and feel the pressure to moderate my score as I think maybe it's me, what i'm feeling now, not the right setting etc etc. But then by in large I try to stay true to what I feel. In saying all that, however, sometimes it is nice knowing what you are tasting, acknowledging and accepting it for what it is, in this case an elderly dram laid down to rest in a cask before I was born. Knowing what it is helps you appreciate how it's constructed. With all that in mind I enjoyed the dram for what it represented, an old whiskey laid dormant for more years I've been on earth. Is it great? Yes it's very nice, is it worth the price? Well am I clinically judging the spirit for what it is or what it represents...a celebration before I anticipated, of a great life and pushing through a recent bad batch. I don't regret what I paid but no one is missing out on a magical experience...it's a beautifully crafted dram but the experience is by in large the celebratory experience and sentiment i've attached to it. Normally I'd give it a very decent rating but in this instance I choose not to quantify it in those terms as what it represents to me will be experienced differently by someone else. For those that get to try this or similar special dram make it part of an experience that is meaningful to them, share it widely and don't judge it on what it is by itself... Update: Ok sentiment pushed aside I will rate it. I find it hard to stop drinking this stuff. Damn nice and solid 4.5 at least.
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