Thursday, March 19, 2020

Whisky Review: Provenance Mortlach 7 Year 2009/2016

As with Monday's cask, this is another young Mortlach, albeit of a slightly different vintage. Will it be any different?

This whisky was distilled in March 2009, filled into a refill bourbon hogshead, then bottled in May 2016 at 46% without coloring or chill filtration.

The sample was purchased from Dramtime, who still have the full bottle but not samples anymore.

Provenance Mortlach 7 Year 2009/2016 Cask #11196

Nose: ethyl acetate/acetone, fresh malt, white flour, artificial vanillin, unripe fruits (apples, pears, bananas), overripe berries. After adding a few drops of water the new make notes largely disappear, but it also becomes kind of washed out except for some sulfur emerging.

Taste: lots of malt sweetness up front, a little gentle oak underneath and citrus peel/pith on top, bittersweet fade out with some vague unripe fruitiness and a touch of sulfur. After dilution the overall structure remains similar, but the new make notes fade and the oak becomes a bit stronger and tannic.

Finish: sweet malt, plastic, mild oak, mixed fruit

While there's some more interesting things going on here compared to the Hepuburn's Choice cask, the new make is really trending towards solvent instead of malt. It may be more expressive, but I think the downsides may outweigh the upsides. Again, I'm not sure why this was bottled when it was, because there's also no clear risk of oak overtaking the spirit and it could have used some more development. We've been seeing a lot more of these sub-ten year old casks released over the last few years and with rare exceptions I think most of them have been a bad idea. While age might just be a number it's the rare cask that actually shines after just a few years and that goes double when the cask is largely inactive.

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