For some months now we keep a sample of this 25-year-old Mortlach in the cellar, selected and bottled by Silver Seal in the “Whiskey is Nature” series. The evocative label takes us away from Dufftown and puts a tiger in front of us, perhaps to remind us how splendid and how dangerous the Mortlach distillate (“the Beast of Dufftown”) could be … It is an ex-sherry barrel from 1989, and got into glass last year: the color is golden, to testify (what we can assume is) a second-fill barrel.
N: from the beginning it is compact and beautifully ‘thick’, with a deep alcoholic note. In this compactness, however, two layers are revealed: above all there is a light, dusty, slightly mineral veil (earth, a note of candle wax and also of damp wood) – together with a suggestion of pork stewed with apples. This layer makes us feel the rough soul of Mortlach (even if it doesn’t get to the heaviest “meaty” notes). However, the second layer is an explosion of yellow fruits (apples, tarte tatin; lots of apricots), orange liqueur, raisins; then we find a sense of pastry, an alcoholic cream (bordering Malaga). All is really intense, a slap in the face, strictly forbidden to diabetics.
P: bam! The palate, in full consistency with the nose, is a muscular display of compact, pulsating and extremely rich flavors: there is a wave of yellow fruit (we still find apples and apricots in the foreground) in combination with a pastry cream that here is literally explosive – leaving your mouth silky and startling. Around the frame, there is a fantastic orange (both sweet orange and essential oils in the zest) which in the oily part ideally leads us to a mineral note, that returns again with earthy and herbaceous suggestions.
F: very long, it turns around and becomes generously mineral, with some hints of barrel wood that, overall, enriches the nuances. All is still immersed in sweet citrus.
A great whisky, one of those that Max Righi loves to bottle: in the glass and in the bottle we find exactly what you should expect from a selection by Silver Seal. In other words, this whisky shows how the bottler has been able to define a personal style, very coherent over the years and among the various selections. This Mortlach is not the classic sherry monster, but it is surprising for the nuances that it can show (mind you: all the shades are amplified – like the tiger, it’s a beast!). 91/100, excellent.
Recommended soundtrack: Survivor – Eye of the tiger.