Mortlach Rare Old is engineered as if it were a single-malt Whisky made by Mercedes Benz … and you know, it tastes like it.
Dufftown is the Highland hamlet that likes to call itself the “Whisky Capital of the World.” This little town of less than 1700 people is home to six prominent distilleries. One of those is Mortlach. In fact, Dufftown used to be named Mortlach back in the Middle Ages. Founded in 1823 by James Findlater, Mortlach became the first “legal” distillery in Dufftown. The history of Mortlach is an honorable one of tradition, innovation, and engineering—including the famous “2.81” distillation method using multiple still types.
Their finely crafted spirits are a core component of the most premium Johnnie Walker blends—so much so that Johnnie Walker bought the distillery in 1923. Well, mergers and acquisitions being what they are, Mortlach is now owned by the Diageo who, rather than change this valuable nameplate, have instead reinvested, letting them shine out with new single-malt and other special editions.
Mortlach Rare Old is a Whisky made by an engineer—precisely controlled, finely crafted, and all about performance. First, even though they have three wash and three spirit stills like most distilleries, at Mortlach each spirit still is a different shape. So the consistency of the spirit from each one is a tad bit different. Those are blended to form one remarkably complex batch that is actually not double distilled, and not triple distilled… but the final spirit has been distilled 2.81 times on average. And yes, this makes a difference.
Then they move the spirit to traditional “worm tubs”—and don’t be silly… no actual worms we harmed in the process of making this Whisky. Only 13 distilleries in all of Scotland still add this important step. It adds a special thickness, a viscosity that you just have to taste to understand. And the aging barrels are a precise mix too—ex-Bourbon, re-filled European oak, and refashioned hogheads… Geeze, it’s crafted as if it were a single-malt Whisky made by Mercedes Benz, and it tastes like it.
A “hogshead” is a standard large barrel size used in England. Used American barrels make single-malt Whisky awesome, but don’t fit neatly in their storage racks. Well, they discovered that you could use the staves from four ASBs to create three larger, standard English “hogsheads” and thus maximizing storage volume per square foot.