Mortlach 1988 26 yo by Cadenhead's

24 drams till Christmas tasting #1: Mortlach 1988 26 yo by Cadenhead’s

Mortlach 1988 26 yo by Cadenhead'sDram data:
Distillery: Mortlach
Bottler: Cadenhead’s
Distilled: 1988
Bottled: 10.2015
Age: 26 years
Limitation: 570 bottles
Casks: Sherry
Alcohol: 56.1%
Unchillfiltered, uncoloured
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour:
honey
The nose opens with quite a bit of alcohol and the signature meaty notes of sherry-matured Mortlach. I think last year’s bottling was a tad richer if I remember correctly (and re-read my tasting notes on that one). Let’s give it some time. *tick tock tick tock*. Well, as meaty as they come. Influenced by old european oak sherry casks too – leather, dampened spices, grandma’s old wardrobe (but in a good way), caramel, semi-dark chocolate and old ginger root. Slightly green, grassy notes too. With water: more grass and more syrup sweetness, opening up nicely. The palate packs a punch – alcohol and pepper – with dry sherry notes immediately taking over, coating the teeth. Sweetness coming through now – condensed orange syrup with ginger, figs and dates, all mixed together and the diluted again, so not too sweet! Time to add a drop of water. A big drop, actually. More pronounced notes of oak, coffee, leather strips and greaves with a lighter fruitiness as well. Alcohol is still quite dominant. The long finish (diluted) is quite silky upon swallowing, with dry notes and a dark fruit sweetness appearing at the same time. Spices, chocolate and coffee notes appearing after a few seconds with oak notes gracing us with their welcome appearance towards the end.

Verdict:
Meaty, beefy, “dirty” non-engineered dry-sweet Mortlach with undeniable (refill) european oak influence. Not as pronounced as last year’s version and a bit more “busy” and alcoholic, but still a very enjoyable dram – just not one for the beginners. But, if you know Mortlach and Cadenhead’s you aren’t a beginner anyway. Undeniably infinitely more bang for the money and raw “non-designer” character than the “more-money-than-sense-rich-boys-target-market” official 25-year-old version…

Score: 87/100
(Nose: 86 Palate: 86 Finish: 88)

The sample for tasting was kindly provided by Cadenhead’s Whisky Market Austria. Cheers!

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