Mortlach 1991 Silver Seal Review

“Chocolate, Oranges and Pipe Tobacco”

Country: Scotland 
Region: Speyside
Brand: Mortlach 1991 (Silver Seal)
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 21 Years
ABV: 56.3%

Colour: Mahogany/Dark Amber. Shades of Red and Brown.

Nose: Very Mature and Heavy. The Sherry is there of course accompanied by a rather fair amount of Sulphur. Not enough to spoil the party though. Lots of Dried Fruits as well, mainly Raisins. I stopped smoking cigarettes more than 11 years ago but occasionally I smoke a Pipe. In Germany I bought Golden Blend's Vanilla Pipe Tobacco and its Aroma is quite similar to this Mortlach. Put a few drops of Whisky on your (clean) hands, rub them softly and smell! You will be amazed. By the way, I do this with every Whisky that I Taste. Many times you will pick up an extra Aroma this way. I also find Caramel, Espresso Coffee, Banana, Cherry Flavoured Dark Chocolate, light Oak, Malt, Rum with a slice of Orange, Salt and, finally, some old Leather Furniture. The Alcohol is strong and you will have to Nose your way around it.  

Palate: Sweet and Spicy with a Menthol edge to it. Sherry, Orange Flavoured Dark Chocolate, Lemon, Dark Red Fruit and Leather Upholstery are the main Flavours I find.

Finish: Medium Long, Spicy and Bitter-Sweet with Sherry, Orange Flavoured Dark Chocolate, Lemon Peel, Christmas Spices, Dried Fruit, Nuts, light Oak and Light Sherry.

I added a bit of Water and you will find extra Vanilla and Salted Leather on the Nose. On the Palate and in the Finish you'll get more Orange and Tobacco. This old Mortlach certainly allows you to play with a bit of Water.

Rating: 87

Nose: 22.5 - Taste: 21.5 - Finish: 21.5 - Overall: 21.5

General Remarks: The Mortlach I am reviewing today was distilled in 1991 and bottled at Cask Strength in November 2012 by Silver Seal Whisky Company -Whisky Antique SRL, an Independent Bottler based in Formigine (MO), Italy and founded in 1979. It aged in Ex-Sherry Cask # 4246) and 542 bottles were reserved for Silver Seal. This Single Malt is Uncoloured and not Chill-Filtered. It won't be very easy to find and costs on average 200 US Dollars. But prices as high as 290 US Dollars are not rare to find. Whiskybase in Rotterdam might still have it. That's where I got the sample!

The Mortlach Distillery was founded around 1824 by James Findlater and was the first distillery in Dufftown, Banffshire. Mortlach distills mainly for Blends. The current owners (Diageo) are in the process of increasing capacity while at the same time promoting Mortlach again as a Single Malt.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: Without any doubt an interesting Single Malt. I like the Nose. It's Full and Rich and there are lots of things to discover. Special features are the Vanilla Flavoured Pipe Tobacco, the Ripe Bananas and the Dark Chocolate. The Alcohol and Sulphur are present but I can live with both of them. On the Palate and in the Finish however I find that this Mortlach leans too much on the Heavy, Dark and Mature Flavours despite the Menthol tones that offer some, but not enough, balance. However, lovers of Sherry Monsters and Orange Flavoured Dark Chocolate will certainly appreciate this mature Mortlach.

Jan van den Ende                                                                  August 21, 2014

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