The Milano Whisky Festival has always been the stage on which Diageo presents its Special Releases in Italy, and a pesky virus will certainly not change this tradition. We can work from home, we can order polenta with Deliveroo and even exchange samples by post, but the Special Releases will always be discovered together with Andrea and Giuseppe. So, that’s how it was last November too, and we drank from the fountain of knowledge, also thanks to Franco Gasparri’s usual intervention. Let’s start with Mortlach, the “beast of Dufftown”, who lately seems more and more like Sulley from Monsters & Co.: much more pleasant than expected. This version, matured in PX and Oloroso, will be either beast or cuddly?
N: well, from the first nose there is no doubt the beast: we are greeted by a fat note of pork rind, of animal fat, although to be honest it is a note present but not dominant. Let’s say it is a smell of grease, more than anything else. The ex-sherry quota remains in the minority, a bit like Italia Viva in the Senate. The sugary part is substantiated by fruit and sweetness: ripe apples and pears; dehydrated apricot, peach seed, almond. There is a concentrated sense of fruit extract, aromatic noumena of fruity phenomena. Bad philosophical trip, eh? The more time passes, the more it opens up: after about ten minutes it becomes an olfactory orgasm. Milk chocolate.
P: the palate is truly exceptional: floral and fruity aromas in essence, between fruit syrup, a floral wax (a Yankee candle with violet, who hasn’t bitten into that?), and notes of flowers scented Ambipur. Citrus peeps out, delicate, between orange and orange blossom. Gooseberries, even a little banana. At the end, an elegantly austere scent of wick, of extinguished candle, with a slightly and virtuously sulphurous growing part.
F: really pleasant, long, very dusty, all about dried fruit – there remains a tannic dimension that finally lets us see the contribution of sherry.
A rounded sherry, not very sherried; all the value of the distillate manages to emerge in its complexity after quite a while – it has to be said that if the palate is truly exhilarating, the nose is made up of more edges. The experience, however, has nothing pandering or easy about it, and be prepared for a hand-to-hand with the glass that will give you an intellectual experience, in its own way. If you are in a hurry, avoid drinking a €600 Mortlach: take it as a life lesson. All very 87/100, and maybe it’s a little tight.
Recommended soundtrack: Weezer – Pork and beans.