Mortlach

Review: Game of Thrones Six Kingdoms Mortlach 15-Year-Old Single Malt

Photo credit: Diageo

At last we have arrived. The HBO epic Game of Thrones is complete. Say what you will about that divisive last season (I’m on the ‘it was okay’ camp, BTW), it was a game changer in the current TV landscape. Diageo celebrated by releasing their Game of Thrones Single Malt Collection, which ranged from pleasant to very good.

The final entry in that collection is here – Six Kingdoms. According to press materials, it “pays tribute to the fate of Westeros, whose long-held Seven Kingdoms ultimately became six at the conclusion of the show’s climactic battle for the Iron Throne.”

Diageo has chosen to create a new Mortlach expression this time. The famously meaty whisky has matured in first fill sherry casks for 15 years followed by a short secondary maturation in ex-bourbon casks. The whisky has been bottled at 46% ABV and is available in limited quantities for an SRP of $150. I really like Mortlach’s recently released range of whiskies, so I’ve been anxiously awaiting this bottling. Let’s get to it.

Aromas of dried fruit, vanilla bean, toffee and oak spice characterize the nose. Taste-wise, a rich toffee sweetness coats the palate, giving way to hints of vanilla cream and dried fruit. A slight nuttiness also appears, thanks to the sherry cask maturation. A wave of baking spice. leather, and toasted oak increases in intensity through to the long, fruity, and slightly dry finish.

Of all nine whiskies of the Game of Thrones Single Malt Collection, Mortlach 15-year-old is by far the richest and most complex. The ex-bourbon barrel finishing period adds layers of creamy vanilla and caramelized sugar. Combined with Mortlach’s big and fruity nature, the result is a whisky made for toasting a special occasion, after dinner, or any time you want a damn good whisky. This is easily my favorite of the collection.

Thanks to Diageo for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Review: Mortlach Core Range (12-yr, 16-yr, and 20-yr)

Ah, the Beast of Dufftown. Mortlach, the Speyside distillery known for its rich sherried whiskies, has recently updated their core lineup to include 12-, 16-, and 20-year-old expressions.

All whiskies are bottled at 43.4% ABV. They all have something else in common – none of these expressions feature lightly peated malt.

MORTLACH 12-YEAR-OLD WEE WITCHIE

The entry level expression is a 12-year-old single malt called the Wee Witchie. Available for $50, this whisky is rich and fruity on the nose with hints of overly-ripe apricot, oak spice, and sweet malt. The palate bears creamy vanilla notes as well as toffee, ripe pear, sweet malt, and a sprinkling of baking spices. The medium length finish leaves sweet malt, toasted oak, and candied citrus. This whisky is big and oily. The sweet malt is slightly dominant at first, but some airtime allows other flavors and aromas to shine. 7.5/10

MORTLACH 16-YEAR-OLD DISTILLER’S DRAM

In the middle of the new lineup lies Mortlach 16-year-old ($110). The nose is big and aromatic; much heavier than its younger sibling. It’s also much darker, with loads of dried fruit and a heavier helping of baking spices, especially cloves. Those spices carry over onto the palate. Waves of cinnamon and cloves hit first, followed by waves of stewed fruit and astringent oak. Dark toffee and tea tannins lead us into the long, sweet, earthy finish. Big and meaty, this 16-year-old expression might just be my favorite of the bunch. 9/10

MORTLACH 20-YEAR-OLD COWIE’S BLUE SEAL

Finally, we have Mortlach 20-year-old, available for $250. The nose is slightly subdued but starts to come alive with a splash of water and some airtime. There is a lot going on here. Hints of stewed stone fruit concentrate, spice, and aromatic wood lead to fermented tobacco leaves and dark toffee. This is an oily whisky. It’s palate coating, for sure. An initial earthiness leads to big caramel and stone fruit notes. Cocoa and honey give way to old oak and dried figs. The finish is long and features lingering notes of licorice and dried fruit… the official tasting notes are on the money for that last part. Mortlach 20-year-old is a fine whisky, but might be too heavy and meaty for regular drinking. Call it a special occasion whisky. 8.5/10

Thanks to Diageo for the samples. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.