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Thursday, July 11, 2024

Mortlach 21 year old 1990 Signatory, cask 6073 for Binny's

Okay, I'm done with my 2023 Diageo Special Releases reviews, but I'm not done with Mortlach! In fact, all three of this week's Morts were sampled side-by-side for maximum 'lach. It's probably not fair to yesterday's NAS critter that its competitors were two 20+ year old single sherry butts. Alas, shed not a tear for Diageo things.

Today's Mortlach comes from back in the days when Binny's had single cask whiskies for stunning prices, whiskies that they would ship to my home. Sometimes I think it was just a dream. Or is today just a dream? Was I, Michael K., dreaming I was a butterfly or am I now really a butterfly dreaming that I am Michael K.? And who was the dead moth that my cat just ate off the window sill?

While I seek the answers to those questions, I'll turn my attention to this whisky. Mr. Opinions purchased this particular bottle back in 2012, then opened it in 2021, sending me a French square sample of it soon after. Thank you, sir.

Distillery: Mortlach
Owner: Diageo
Region: Speyside (Dufftown)
Independent Bottler: Signatory
Age: 21.9754 years (17 September 1990 - 8 September 2012)
Maturation: Sherry Butt
Cask#: 6073
Outturn: 516 bottles
Exclusive to: Binny's
Alcohol by Volume: 52.8%
(sample from My Annoying Opinions)


Brazil nuts, marzipan, black walnuts and brine fill the nose, with subtler notes of nectarines, mint, and ginger offering background highlights. The palate holds more fruits than nuts; more dried cherries and tart peaches than almond extract. It's lightly sweet and slightly floral, with a wee savory note offering more complexity and carrying into the finish, where it's met by dried cherries, cherry candy, and toasty oak.

DILUTED to ~46%abv, or < 1 tsp of water per 30mL whisky

The nose grows! More nuts. Some rye? Oranges, actual Oloroso, and a hint of dunnage. The palate gets tarter, bitterer, fiercer, and fun(ner), with all sorts of citrus fruits and even a hint of coal smoke. The finish follows suit.


Though the cask does most of the work here, it seems like a 2nd fill. The oak, its vanillins and tannins, never overwhelm. Instead the vessel and its spirit interact peacefully. Not much of this cask sings "Mortlach", which may be an issue for Mortie fans, but I didn't mind it this time because the whisky was very good. I'd even consider buying a bottle (for $99!) were this written twelve years ago.

Availability - Buh-bye
Pricing - $99 (yah)
Rating - 87

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