Tasting Notes for Mortlach 15 Years Old - Gordon & MacPhail
Nose: Stewed fruit and sherried malt, with a hint of clove spiciness.
Palate: Robust barley notes at the core, soon joined by strawberry bonbons and cinnamon sticks.
Finish: A hint of new leather and orange peel.
Gordon & MacPhail’s relaunched Distillery Labels bottling range of this 15 year old whisky from Mortlach - matured in 1st and refill sherry casks and bottled at 46% abv. Typically, G&M buys the new make spirit from the distillery and matures in their own casks at their own warehouse before bottling them. The "Distillery Labels" are a range that is bottled with the original distillery labels licensed to G&M.
Founded in 1823, Mortlach is allegedly built on the site of a former illicit distillery and was the first legal distillery in Dufftown, with Glenfiddich the next to come along around 60 years later. It was one of the rare distilleries allowed to produce alcohol during the second world war, right up until 1944. One of the very few distilleries that practise partial triple distillation (2.81 times to be exact), Mortlach also uses old-fashioned condensers known as “worm tubes” and is noted for producing a very delicate distillate with a rich and fruity profile. All in all, Mortlach is pretty unique and really worth checking out. As is the case with many of the distilleries owned by the Diageo group, very few official bottlings of the malt exist outside of the Flora & Fauna and Rare Malts ranges released in the 1990s.
Gordon & MacPhail are one of the oldest and most important bottlers of single malt whisky in Scotland - and indeed the world. They were founded in 1895 by James Gordon and John Alexander MacPhail and as did many whisky traders, Gordon and MacPhail sold other products in addition to whisky from their premises on South Street, Elgin; they were a grocers as well as a wine and spirits merchant. However, there was always an inclination toward dark spirits, and they decreed their product would be ‘a superior article at a popular price’. They quickly began the pioneering practice of bottling various distillery’s whiskies under license and selling them through their shop and wholesale.
They were the first to offer higher strength (100 proof) bottlings on a regular basis as far back as the 1950s and one of the first companies to set up a proper, independent bottling range in the form of the Connoisseur’s Choice series which was launched in 1968.
Today, Gordon & MacPhail stands out, not for its age (though it is the oldest independent bottler in Scotland), but for its complete mastery of cask ageing. Gordon & MacPhail is the only bottler to have its own casks – carefully chosen for the purpose – filled by the distilleries themselves, instead of simply buying the ones suggested to them by the latter. This allows it to determine, in advance and with great precision, exactly how many years a whisky will need to reach ideal maturation.
They have bottled the four oldest whiskies ever released, including the 1939 75-year-old Mortlach as part of their ongoing ‘Generations’ series, and a 71-year-old Macallan under the Speymalt range. They have also recently announced an 80 year old Glenlivet, which will be a new record for the World’s oldest released whisky.
Gordon & MacPhail have provided the stock for a number of importers and bottlers overseas over the past few decades and have probably been responsible for a higher proportion of what is now considered the great and legendary whiskies over the years than any other company. Today they still hold and release stock of unparalleled age and quality.
Producer Mortlach Distillery for Gordon & MacPhail Style Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky Age 15 Years Volume 70CL ABV 46%