Mortlach Gordon & MacPhail 15yo

The Great Disappointment

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Don’t let the images fool you, this is not a comparison between the old and the new. This review is all about their alternative.: the Mortlach 15yo Gordon & MacPhail, a bottle that is hard to find here in Belgium, but it can easily be found in let’s say a Tesco somewhere in the Highlands.
I’I picked this one up in Oban, while waiting for the ferry to Port Askaig ( the Islay report will follow shortly, I promise). Admittedly I  never held Mortlach in high regard, to some this distillery may have been a hidden Speyside gem, but I remain unmoved by its older brother, the famous 16yo Flora & Fauna, so the stakes aren’t  high.
Mortlach has been the subject of controversy these last months as the old bottling that they all knew and loved was replaced by a few NAS- versions, packaged in an expensive perfume bottle.
Even to me it felt a bit wrong, I find it hard that Diageo just expects us to accept the increase in price and lack of product information. Maybe I’m a little too grumpy for my own good here, as I haven’t even tried the new versions yet. Maybe I’ve arrived at that stage in the life of a malt enthusiast, where melancholia clouds the rational mind, or I’m tired of getting pushed around by the industry trying to tell me what to drink while grabbing more money out of my wallet.

Thus it might be useful so let’s well how this one holds up and if it could be a cheaper replacement of its older brother.


thewhiskyexchange.comNose: Malted barley, sherry, notes of milk and biscuits with a touch of spice, oak and faint hints of citrus. All this served on a powerful layer of vanilla cream.

Mouth: creamy and syrupy on the palate: with tones of biscuits and malted barley, white chocolate and raisins, shades of of nutmeg and black pepper, a dash of sherry and of course the elements of toasted oak that brings forth the dominant layers of spicy vanilla (Luckily a drop of water removes much of the vanilla)

Finish: Medium, but smooth as butter, with notes of oak and ginger.

The Verdict

What I miss here is the fruity flavours and that meaty quality of Mortlach. Yes, I get some sherry notes along the way, but I find it quite astounding that this was matured in a refill sherry cask: it has  American oak written all over it. Don’t get me wrong, this is not necessarily a bad whisky, I recon that this is a quite the rich whisky, layered and rounded, with a creamy texture and notes of oak and vanilla that may appeal to a lot of people,

But not me…
The disappointment that I felt after trying this whisky is most likely the main cause of the low score that I attributed to this whisky. Maybe it was just a bad bottle, but this G&M is not even worthy of liking the boots of the 16yo F&F.

Score: 79