A few weeks ago I received three samples from The Whisky Exchange of a bunch of new Signatory Vintage releases, which were bottled especially for them. A nice gesture, but the funny thing is that none of these three samples is from a brand that I would necessarily consider buying myself, while all three (Mortlach, Glenlivet and Longmorn) are quite popular Speyside whiskies to some extent. I just have never been really drawn to them or have acquired a fondness towards the particular distilleries themselves.

But the great thing about samples, whether you get or buy them or swap them with whisky friends, is that it gives you the opportunity to taste something different than you normally do without having to buy a whole bottle right away. It takes you out of your comfort zone, which can sometimes provide nice surprises.

Anyway, before I wander too far off-topic, I actually wanted to talk about this Mortlach 2008 that I’m about to taste. Just like the Glenlivet 2007 that I’ve reviewed last week, which was a really nice sherry bomb by the way, this seems to be a bit of atypical Mortlach. Because it has matured in an ex-bourbon cask, a cask type we usually don’t associate with this distillery since Mortlach is predominantly known for its sherry casks. For both Glenlivet and Mortlach, these were not the most obvious cask choices and that can therefore provide an interesting outcome, which we have already seen with that Glenlivet. So now the question arises, will that also be the case with this Mortlach…

This Mortlach has matured in a first-fill bourbon cask for 12 years and is bottled at 57.1% ABV. Cask no. 800109.

Mortlach 2008 tasting notes:

Nose: icing sugar at first. Lemon pastry, which is followed by vanilla custard. Banana candies. Green apples. Caramel. A touch of lime and pears. Some coconut in the background.

Taste: vanilla custard again. Green apples and pears. Lime and lemon pastry and icing sugar here as well. Some alcohol heath, leaning towards white pepper but this disappears with the second sip it seems. A hint of caramel. And some mint in the very back.

Finish: long. lemon pastry, banana candies and vanilla custard. Lime too.

It’s certainly not Mortlach as we know it, but nonetheless quite tasteful and pleasant. Not overly complex, it’s just a nice dram to enjoy without thinking too much about it. Good flavours and water isn’t even needed. Nice cask pick!

Sample provided by The Whisky Exchange.