Mortlach 1998 Co-op Exclusive (Gordon & MacPhail) Review

IMG_2357Mortlach 1998 Co-op Exclusive (Gordon & MacPhail)

59.7% abv

Score:  87/100


A bottle made even sweeter due to circumstance.  A mate of mine and I laid down a bet at the start of last year’s NFL season: who could pick the most division winners.  Do note…this guy is a junkie for the game and knows waaaaay more than I do.  I got two right (out of eight).  He got one.  For two huge football fans, obviously a pretty pathetic outing.  Goes to show, I suppose, that on any given Sunday…

Anyway, the stakes were a bottle.  No other real parameters.  And this Mortlach single cask was his ‘settling up’ offering.  Hell of a generous dude.  And a Scot to boot.  Known to be ‘frugal’ and all that, right?  I prefer ‘smart with money’.  😉

Said lad presented this one to me at the tail end of a Dram Initiative club tasting a couple months back.  I immediately cracked it and poured out most of it for a roomful of eager malters.  Needless to say it went over like gangbusters.  I kept back a wee bit to be able to write this up and offer public thanks.  So…thanks, Stu!

Bottled exclusively for Co-op Wines & Spirits (and still available at the time of writing!), this is a typical meaty Mortlach.  Seems most Mortlach I’ve drunk of late has been heavier on florals than bovine, but this one takes me back into familiar territory.  Good outing.  And a hell of a lot more exciting than the standard range of generic (aside from the odd bottling strength), overpriced distillery bottlings.

Nose:  Moderate beef note at the fore.  Quite spicy too.  Tea and toast.  Salted meat.  Very dry, overripe berry notes.  Neat nose, if slightly ‘flawed’.  I like it though.  Very, very faintly hints at sulphur.  Big nose, all told.  And yes…there are some sweet fruity notes, but they are ridiculously hard to pin down.  Monk’s Blend tea.

Palate:  Still meaty, but rich and soooo much more than the nose gives us.  Great bold and juicy arrival.  Barley is clear and rich.  Still a slight Bovril meatiness to it, but tempered with chewy dark fruits.  Leathery, with notes of very dry cinnamon and ginger.  Something green and weedy here.  Big barley finish.

Thoughts:  This one stutter-steps into my ‘oddball winners’ category.  Not without its bumps, but its merits make it worthwhile.


 – Images & Words:  Curt

3 thoughts on “Mortlach 1998 Co-op Exclusive (Gordon & MacPhail) Review

  1. David

    Wow! Still available 2 years after I got one? But given the price and it’s an IB I can see it sticking around. Only 271 bottles in all.

    But…..It almost seems like you and I tasted from different barrels. The label says I was a refill Sherry hogshead, but to be honest I felt like there must have been a lot of previous fills to that cask. For comparison I have attached a link to my review…I hope you don’t mind

    I still have some left and the bottle was gassed so you are inspiring me to have another taste of it and reassess…

  2. david

    Came back to it tonight. Thanks for reminding me it was deep in my cabinet. I think based on my current palate I would score this around an 82, up from my original 76 or 77, using the Connosr NTFB model. In terms of enjoyment I’d give it closer to an 87-88.

    I now get a little of the meatiness you describe, or rather, I probably now recognize it better.

    I think that the issue here is that while it’s a strong, rich malt, it is rather non-descript. No major fruit or sherry or peat. Not that complex, not compared to an Amrut bourbon single cask (which also carries an age, I would add).

    I recently tried Redbreast 12 YO CS and I can see a lot of similarities in richness. Maybe this richness without any star flavours is what makes it so popular for blending.

  3. Veritas

    Wow, 2 totally different takes on the same barrel. Very interesting….

    For a sherry matured whisky, I know that colour is not a factor in taste, but it does look very pale…

    건배 !


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