On the nose, this dram is frighteningly specific for us: a fox dressed in pineapple skin armor, holding a lance, dejected after a failed casting call for the Fantastic Mr. Fox. And his name is Rupert. Next to him are Ticonderoga pencil shavings on a sterling dish garnishing hard boiled eggs with brining salt. But if that’s too specific for you, there’s also a vague furniture note and hints of an unidentified wood. But that wood Frank Lloyd Wright used for an experimental wainscoting to line a back closet in Fallingwater.
The mouth is quintessentially Mortlachian, which is to say, it presents with clear notes of a birch/birch bark hybrid canoe (it’s half carved out and half sewn together) used to ferry oranges to orangutans. If you’re not getting that, you need to wash your glass and try again–after draining your glass, of course–because it’s there, right there. And if you still don’t get that, keep trying. You’ll agree soon enough. The mouthfeel is thick without being cloying, like a very independent, overweight teenager–or perhaps an independently overweight teenager (which lets the parents off the hook). The mouth is truly glorious: imagine a ginger snap cookie that can actually snap in time with “Freddy the Freeloader”.
The finish is long and lovely, but then there’s bitter note in there somewhere, like taking a distant bronze in the Olympics or draining your bank account to pay for your kid’s Ivy League tuition. It’s not unlike tiny homunculi playing frisbee golf on your tongue with a clove-studded Nilla® wafer and cinnamon flavored toothpicks. This dram is an out and out classic. Long may it live.
The Mortlach 15 from Gordon & MacPhail is fall (or autumn, depending on how you’re bent)–Like I said, an out and out classic. You’ll look forward to lingering over it year in and year out.
–Our thanks to John Heffernan and Gordon & MacPhail for the sample!