Mortlach Old & Rare
Aberlour A'bunadh (Batch 50)
The Glenlivet Nadurra
Highland Park - Dark Origins
Mortlach Old & Rare – Bottled at 43.4% and retailing at just under £60 for a 50cl bottle
made this the most expensive of our whiskies tonight. Light gold in colour with some sherry, dark fruit, honey and a hint of spice on the nose. Sweet to the palate with dark fruit again and some pepper leading to a slightly spicy medium finish. A few drops of water made the aromas less complex and diminished the taste, so not recommended!
Aberlour A'bunadh (Batch 50) – This is released at cask strength (59.6%) in limited run batches with the batch number being displayed on the label. Note that each batch can be quite different to the last. Batch 50 was rich, spicy and Christmas cake on the nose with a mouth-coating palate of dark fruits. A medium, very warming finish, with some dryness. Water opened up the aroma and the taste taking away some of the alcohol ‘burn’.
The Glenlivet Nadurra – A whopping 63.1% ABV matured in first-fill American oak
barrels giving very distinct vanilla notes to the nose with maybe some pear on the top.
Meatiness to the taste, alcohol, banana, water melons also there with a long lasting pepper finish. Addition of water mellows the alcohol nose and flavour allowing the other attributes to come to the fore and also releasing a slight smokiness?
Fettercairn Fior – Back down the ABV scales to 42% this is an award winning and highly regarded dram. A little meaty on the nose with some vegetative matter in there, also some butter, heather liquorice and a trace of smokiness. Tasting it reveals mellow sweetness, some fruitiness and smoke with a nicely balanced lightly-smoked finish. Adding a few drops of water didn’t seem to have much effect.
Highland Park Dark Origins – and finally at 46.8% this offering from HP, matured in
“double first fill sherry casks” - their words not mine. Sherry comes to the fore, with dark fruits, some coffee and a slightly bitter chemical on the nose. In the mouth it’s sweet and peaty and very drying with some spiciness there as well. Adding water prolongs the finish, but it’s still very drying.
The Result - So, how did they compare to each other? In first place was the Aberlour,
followed fairly closely by Fettercairn. Highland Park came in third, the Glenlivet Nadurra was fourth and, maybe surprisingly, Mortlach takes the wooden spoon; could this have been influenced by Messrs Diageo’s high price tag and the small bottle size?
Notes by Sean.