Advent Day 16: 1998 “Pastille Bouquet” Mortlach 15 y.o. (Wemyss Malts)

Secret Spirits Advent Calendar Day 16 – December 16th086

1998 “Pastille Bouquet” Mortlach 15 y.o. (Wemyss Malts)

Cask #5402 Bourbon Hogshead

46% abv

Score:  87/100


A whisky from the Secret Spirits Advent Calendar First Edition.

Ok.  Let’s keep this one short and sweet.  We all know Mortlach.  No need for a lengthy introduction or distillery background.  Just a few personal thoughts.  Let’s go…

Mortlach has long been a favorite distillery of mine.  Just a bit of a personal affinity.  It’s a Speysider, but in my eyes, it’s one which bucks the overly formulaic apple/pear/berry/vanilla/oak trend most Speyside malts (excepting the big sherry bombs) are usually known for.  It certainly does bear some or all of those hallmarks, but often injects a little bit of a meaty backbone and an occasional whiff of smoke to mix things up a bit.  Mortlach is a malt with character.  A malt that I find almost always deserves a good long bit of my attention.

For these reasons, I was tickled pink to open door number 16 and find a 15 year old Wemyss Malts Mortlach.  And while this one didn’t light me up like some of the others, it is still a rather sexy dram.  I’m probably only disappointed because I have such elevated expectations for this distillery.  More accurately, I have expectations regarding what sort of profile I’ll be getting when I pop the cork.  This malt is simply not the Mortlach I know.  Good?  Absolutely.  Familiar?  Well…not so much.  Perhaps that has to do with a lack of sherry influence in the casking here.  Most likely, I’d say.

Oh well.  Still a cool one to try.  While I can’t say I’m behind the new over-marketed and unjustifiably premiumized Diageo abominations, I’m still a sucker for the older indie Mortlachs when available.  This was just such a case.

Nose:  Lovely candy notes.  Dusty potpouri or dried flowers of some sort.  Nicely spiced.  Grain dust (like being near a mill).  Big Turk candy bars.  Fuzzy Peach candies (just a hint).  If those savoury Mortlach notes are here at all, they’re very faint.

Palate:  Maybe just the softest mince, or at least a similar spicy tart note.  Apples.  There’s a little more fresh fruit, but having trouble putting a pulse to it.   Just a vague smokiness.  Oak.  Pear and apple cider.

Thoughts:  Always love trying Mortlach, but increasingly finding variants lacking the meaty notes I associate with the distillery.

Bonus:  My mate, Jonathan, and I are gonna blog on these drams side by side through the season.  Here’s a link to his notes on the same whisky at


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

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