Before Diageo released the new overpriced Mortlach-series, there were only very few official Mortlach bottlings. The most readily available has been the now discontinued 16yo Flora & Fauna, and there have been some in the Rare Malts Selection, as well as the odd distillery bottling, such as the 32yo from 1971.
There also was a special bottling for the Spirit of Speyside Festival 2013, which I’ll review today. As it is a No Age Statement whisky, it feels like Diageo gave us a preview of what was to come for Mortlach in 2014, since the then released new entry level is called Rare Old, and no consumer really knows how rare or old that whisky actually is. The same goes for this special festival bottling. It is bottled at a respectable 48 percent abv and is a mixture of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks, but that’s about all the info available.
Mortlach Spirit of Speyside 2013 (48%, OB, NAS, 3000 bts.)
Nose: Rum soaked raisins and lots of wood influence. Spices, plenty of oak, ripe banana and vanilla. Also some orange and chocolate. A bit on the weak side, not as rich as the 16yo. Taste: More wood spices, cloves, cinnamon and black pepper. Very malty and some charred oak. Bitter oranges. It ends on a dry note. Finish: Medium in length, drying with pepper and oak.
Good, but not very good, let alone great. They achieved a nice balance, but it lacks the richness and full body of the Flora & Fauna. I think it was released for 100 pounds at the time. It might’ve been a bit cheaper, but not by much.