Diageo Throws Down An Over $13,000 Scotch From Mortlach - The Whiskey Wash

Diageo Throws Down An Over $13,000 Scotch From Mortlach

By Nino Marchetti / March 21, 2019

Spirits giant Diageo, with the unveiling of a new premium Mortlach expression this week out of Scotland, is making one thing perfectly clear with its release – affluent buyers are the target for this expression. It looks to be part of a greater push by them to appeal to higher end whisky connoisseurs, something of which we’ve already seen this year so far in the form of a close to $6,000, 39 year old Port Ellen. In regards to Mortlach, what one has here is a 47 year old expression that will cost you over $13,000 if you want a bottle.

The new Mortlach 47 Year Old, according to those behind it, is the first in this Diageo-owned distillery’s new Singing Stills series that’s drawn from the final three casks of whisky (each being a refill American Oak hogshead) laid down there way back in 1971. This first particular release yielded just 94 bottles, each of which has been bottled at 46.8% ABV. It also is noted as being the oldest ever direct release distillery bottling (versus from an independent bottler) to come from Mortlach.

Mortlach 47 Year Old

Mortlach 47 Year Old (image via Diageo)

Interestingly the name of the series, Singing Stills, is in reference to the actual stills at the distillery that are are said to emanate a “mysterious and ethereal hum.” The whisky passes through these six stills in a 2.81 distillation process “[that] has remained unchanged for over 120 years.”

As it stands now plans call for the Mortlach 47 Year Old to be made available through a lottery based system, with those who register starting during a two week period beginning April 9 being given the chance to be eligible, if picked, to purchase one at a price of £10,000, or around $13,200 USD. One of the bottles as well, come March 25, will be auctioned for charity by Bonhams Hong Kong. Proceeds from this auction will go to Daughters of Tomorrow, a charity dedicated to supporting underprivileged women with the skills and confidence to make a living for themselves and their families.

Also, Diageo is holding on April 9 a launch of the whisky at events in London and Singapore. 47 individuals will be chosen through a separate online registration process to get the chance to be among the first to taste this expression in what’s described as “an unforgettable setting.”

Mortlach stands alone and is referred to as ‘The Beast of Dufftown’ for its uncompromising flavour profile, so unusual for Speyside whiskies,” said Dr. Craig Wilson, Mortlach Master Blender, in a prepared statement. “This bottling is exquisite for its age and is unmistakably Mortlach, with its intensely complex character and well balanced flavour profile.”

“The sound of the stills is as distinctive to the distillery as the taste of the whisky,” added Ewan Gunn, Global Mortlach Ambassador. “Mortlach’s exceptionally bold and complex flavours, effortlessly bridge the gap between mellow and smoky. Authentic in character, Mortlach 47-Year-Old delivers a velvety body with notes of honey, hot toasted wood and dark chocolate leaving a buttery smoothness, with a touch of smoke to finish.”

You’ll find more detailed official tasting notes below, and this whisky’s release follows on the heels of some younger Mortlach expressions that were also recently released and cost considerably less to buy.

  • Colour: Polished copper
  • Nose: Aromatic and exotic with orchard and tropical fruits followed by honey and waxy notes. Subtle spice notes emerge with sage, rosemary, incense and myrrh followed by a faint touch of smoke
  • Body: Medium to rich
  • Palate: Soft, ripe fruits with an intriguing combination of sweet and sour notes – umeshu plums and peaches are both present. These are balanced by firm tannins and a rich earthiness with just a little smoke
  • Finish: Earthy and spicy with a touch of wood ash