Sherry Monster: Mortlach 17 Year (malt trust)

As party of my recent bachelor party, Dodgydrammer picked up a bottle of Mortlach 17 year bottled by Malt Trust. It’s been collecting dust for a few months now and I thought it was well past time to pull it out for a proper tasting (we were all much to drunk, with shot palettes from some tasty Laphroaig 15 year – my favorite single malt – to make good tasting judgments when we first cracked the bottle).

Here’s what I got recently in a second go-round:

Mortlach 17 Year

Mortlach 17 Year

Mortlach 17 Year bottled by Malt Trust
Single Barrel, Natural Cask Strength
Cask #4718, Bottle Number 380
Distilled November 1988, Bottled March 2006.

Nose: All sherry. Not quite as smooth as The Macallan, more attacking. At 59.6% ABV, you can’t get your nose in too close or the alcohol kills you. Other tasters suggest spice and a hint of fruit, and the official notes say spice and coffee, but I’m not getting them.
Color: Amber/Bronze
Taste: Hugely sherried – it’s the only taste that can overcome the hotness of the ABV.
Palate: syrup, substantial and very hot
Finish: Long, slow fade on the sherry, very prickly from the high ABV. Almost distractingly so.

With a dash of water added:

Nose: It’s still a sherry monster, but a few coffee notes have crept in as the alcoholic edge takes a back seat.
Taste: Sherry continues to dominate, but it is quickly followed by warm spicyness. Rather than attacking, the dram is now warm and inviting.
Finish: Not quite as long with the sherry and spices fading to a light caramel before disappearing altogether. With just a tiny amount of water, the pricklyness is also gone.

The ABV on this bottle is a little prohibitive to enjoying a glass neat, but it opened up nicely with a little water. Still, it’s not a hugely complex scotch as the sherry continues to dominate the nose, taste and finish.