Tag Archives: Signatory

Mortlach 16 Year (K&L Wine)

Mortlach Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Distilled 1998
The Signatory Vintage Un-Chillfiltered Collection

$100
55.8% ABV
Website

What the Bottler Says
Can we keep the Mortlach momentum rolling? It seems that ever since we released that amazing sherry butt of Mortlach from Chieftain’s all those years ago, we’ve been riding a wave of Mortlach enthusiasm for the sherry-aged Speyside beast. Diageo even released their own single malt version (maybe we had something to do with that, eh?) We’re always on the lookout for more Mortlach, especially sherry-aged barrels, and it turns out that Signatory had a sherry-finished butt sitting in their Pitlochry location just there for the taking. The first sip is all you need to get excited: lots of gingerbread, cinnamon, holiday cookie goodness just explodes on the palate, with cakey, sherry flavor rounding out the back end. At full proof, it’s as much of a beast as ever. But the fact that this cask was simply finished in sherry, rather than aged in the sweet wine from day one, is a big benefit. The maltiness of the whisky is still there at the core and the finish still sings of whisky

What Richard Says
Nose: Spicy and fruity. Allspice, sage, cinnamon, vanilla, nectarines, and dried apricots.
Palate: Rich and mouth coating with a terrific sweetness. Cigar humidors, more dried apricots, cinnamon candies, high cacao dark chocolates, and a big smack of sherry.
Finish: A nice woodiness with hints of graphite and cinnamon. When everything else fades you’re left with dark chocolate cocoa powder.
Comments: This beasts needs the water. Even for those, like myself, that regularly indulge in the 52-58% cask strength dram this one needs a few splashes or it comes out too hot. Delicious, but too hot. You’ll only be tasting the first dram otherwise. Sadly, this barrel is all sold out. With Diageo releasing their own ridiculously overpriced proprietary bottlings of Mortlach I’m sure the glory days of independently bottled, heavily sherried Mortlach are nearly gone. But there may still be time. If you are a fan of sherry forward malts (Macallan, Aberlour, Glendronach, etc.) and you see something like this Mortlach at a reasonable price then grab one. They rarely disappoint.
Rating: Must Buy

…And you thought it was over

What’s this, two posts in one day?  I thought I’d share the rest of the evening’s festivities after the official Tullibardine tasting at The Brandy Library wound down.  There where quite a few people in attendance, including reps for Chivas and Famous Grouse (there were others too, I think).  Honorary Apostles Tamir and Shelline accompanied me as we drank deep the water of life.

Since Total Beverage Solution also handles Edradour and independent bottler Signatory, Adam (the TBS rep) let us sample the Signatory Isle of Jura and the Edradour Calendonia.

The Jura was quite interesting.  Like many other independent bottlers, Signatory does not purchase all their casks from the distillers.  Some of the casks come from overstock sold off by big blending houses (most likely Whyte & Mackay in this instance).  This Jura is one of those.  I’ve never been a fan of Jura.  I’ve always equated Jura’s taste profile to clinging to an innertube during a sea storm.  Something about this cask spending time off the island has tempered the salt.  The Signatory Isle of Jura is a little more balanced and subtle than the last distillery bottling I tried (admittedly some time ago).  The salt is certainly there.  There is a scent of the wilderness too, of animals and earth.  Quite delightful.

The Edradour Caledonia is a special 12 year old release hand picked by Scottish crooner Douglas Maclean and named for his song.  It’s got big, bold sherry notes and rich sugars (honey and brown sugar) without being cloying.  There are plenty of other things going on here so you don’t get bogged down in the sherry.  It reminds me of my favorite pipe tobacco quite a bit.

As mentioned earlier, a rep from Chivas happened to be on hand and poured us a dram of Chivas 18yo as we waxed philosophic on the importance of blends.  You already know my thoughts on Chivas 18yo.  Of course, The Brandy Library’s own Ethan Kelly had to get in on the action by turning us on to Old Parr 12yo.  Old Parr is a blend that has long interested me, solely because of the unique bottle shape.  Yet, I remained skeptical.  It’s an inexpensive blend in a funny bottle.  How good could it be?  Well, it’s quite nice.  If Johnnie Walker Black Label was softened to the point of being drinkable neat, it would taste something like this.  Smokey and sweet, this blend is more complex than expected, but smooth and balanced.  I’d say this a great buy.  After all, everyone should have at least one blended whisky in your bar no matter how much of a single malt snob you are.

Lastly, we had a dram of Glendronach 12yo.  The new Glendronachs are a huge improvement over the old ones.  The sherry is present without being overpowering.  The addition of Pedro Ximinez sherry casks really kicks up the palate.  This is very sophisticated for a 12yo.

Thanks to everyone:  Ethan at The Brandy Library, Anwar from Chivas, Adam from TBS, Shelline and Tamir.  Nights like this are what drinking whisky is about.  Sitting around enjoying a great dram with great conversation.  Slainte.

-Matt