1961 Mortlach, Private Collection, Single Malt Scotch Whisky (44.4%)

1961 Mortlach, Private Collection, Single Malt Scotch Whisky (44.4%)

Product: 19618042291
1961 Mortlach, Private Collection, Single Malt Scotch Whisky (44.4%)

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This Mortlach must have been an absolutely monstrous spirit in youth. Even after 58 years in a first-fill sherry hogshead, there are elements of the meaty distillery character that I’m sure would have been recognisable to those early 1960s distillery workers. 

This is a hugely dense dram, with leather and touches of treacle that develop into tar and tobacco with time. Jamon Iberico makes an appearance on the nutty finish, and I can think of nothing finer to accompany a glass or two of this.

Rob Whitehead, Spirits Buyer, Berry Bros. & Rudd (February 2023)

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About this SPIRIT

Mortlach Distillery, Speyside

Mortlach Distillery, Speyside

Mortlach was the first distillery to be built at Dufftown. However following it's purchase by J & J. Grant of Glen Grant it was used first as a church, and then as a brewery, before finally being restored to it's true purpose in life.

A new distillery was built in 1964 but the exterior, including two different kinds of pagoda heads, has retained its look of a turn-of-the-century complex. The stills at Mortlach are unusual in that they are of different sizes and, although there are three of each type, they are not paired off. In the 1890s three stills were already in place and, in 1897, when capacity was doubled, this meant six individual stills, not three pairs. This has had to be maintained, as to do otherwise would probably have altered the character of the spirit. There is a rather complicated procedure of making different combinations of distillate from each of the stills and using two spirit safes.

Mortlach is lightly peated but has extra depth and roundness. The aromas and flavour are smoky, spicy and rich with a dry edge to innate sweetness. The official bottling is at 16 years and 43% vol.

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Speyside Whisky

Speyside Whisky

To some Speyside represents the jewel in whisky’s crown. Speyside is the home of legal whisky production and it’s best known examples. Around the world Glenlivet, Macallan, Glenfiddich, Glenrothes and Glenfarclas typify all that whisky, at it’s best has to offer. At it’s heart running from the Monadhliath mountains north to the sea, is the River Spey. It is the fastest flowing river in Britain, and also well known for its salmon fishing.

Speyside is the principal whisky-producing region: Speyside has within it some forty-six operating distilleries - over half the total number in the entire Scotland.

Speysides are essentially sweet whiskies. They have little peaty character They are typically highly perfumed, feminine and elegant.

The classical nature of Speyside’s malts means that a number of the finest malts are used almost exclusively for blending. It is the top Speysider’s that give good blends their ‘Top Dressing’. 

Malts such as Mortlach, Glen Elgin, Strathmill and Benrinnes are rarely found as distillery bottlings, however when individual casks are tracked down by independent bottlers such as our Own Selection Single Malt Whiskies the resultant whisky can be quite wonderful.

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