Diageo caused quite a stir in the market last year when they launched the new Mortlach range. Aimed at the lucrative Asian market, gone was the much loved Flora & Fauna 16 Year Old to be replaced by four pricey expressions in 50cl bottles.
This Rare Old is neither rare nor old and forms the entry level expression. It has no age statement, is created from a mixture of Sherry and Bourbon casks and bottled at 43.4% ABV.
Light sherry notes, rich fruit and orange peel. Some nuttiness.
Some almondy marzipan and creamy fudge also appears.
The same sherry and vanilla flavours occur in the taste and it’s all very smooth and balanced. A spicy dryness comes through and carries into the slightly bitter finish.
Adding water brings out a bit more fresh sweetness, but be very careful – the neat spirit is very light and it’s easy to wash away the flavours.
Mortlach Rare Old is a very smooth, pleasant whisky which most people would happily drink. The issue is that is contains almost none of the typical Mortlach ‘meatiness’ which we’ve come to expect. If I was tasting this blind, I’d never have guessed it was Mortlach, more likely something lighter like a Glenlivet or Glenfiddich.
Overall then it’s probably a whisky that’s worth trying, but I couldn’t recommend buying a bottle – much better putting your money towards a solid independent bottling instead.