Updated: Jan 21, 2021
Mortlach 22 yr. – 1995 Faultline – FF Sherry Butt – 53.3%
I read Mortlach's soctchwhisky.com entry a handful of times and am still having trouble mentally mapping the interplay between the 3 wash still and 3 spirit stills or what exactly the triple feint distillation in "The Wee Witchie" does that standard production methods don't. What matters is that this orchestration combined with minimal copper/vapor interaction (speedy distillation, cold worm tubs) produces a spirit full of character - good for blending and sherry maturation. It's sometimes referred to as meaty. I've had bottlings that definitely live up to that descriptor.
The OBs have had trouble finding their place in the market. Their 2014 lineup (Rare Old, 18 yr, 25 yr) needed to be reimagined in 2018 when they rolled out a 12 yr, 16 yr, 20 yr - all at 43.4%. Those bottlings have yet to light the world on fire. When it comes to IBs, sherried Mortlach is always in a price dependent conversation for me.
This IB, from Faultline, is the independent bottling label for California liquor store, K&L. If you search "Faultline" and check the "out of stock" box on their website, you'll see a lot of high profile distilleries with double-take age statements at more than competitive pricing. Their bottlings can be hit or miss, but I grabbed two of these after a few of their solid rum selections.
Nose: Complexity needs to be teased out. Toffee. Dry oloroso. Well water. Raisins. Burnt sugar. Buttery grain.
Flavor: Hawaiian Punch. Wood spice - faint meatiness. Char. Toffee.
Structure: Linear, long. Does a little dance toward the finish.
Alcohol Integration: Gets pokey on the palate without water. Water plays up the burnt sugars on the nose, clarifies and lengthens the palate as well. Good swimmer.
Score: 7 (High Recommend) Always dig the Hawaiian Punch notes (otherwise it's a 6). Not much to peg this as a Mortlach. Nothing overly memorable or as complex as I expect from a 22 yr. Still a high quality, enjoyable pour.
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9 - Stash Two (If Able)
8 - Stash One (At The Right Price)
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5 - Acceptable For The Situation
4 - Not Vocally Complaining
3 - Anything Else To Drink?
2 - Nothing Nice To Say
1 - Drain Pour