With a 26 year old Mortlach — “the Beast of Dufftown,” you know — aged in first-fill sherry casks, the 2019 Diageo Special Releases series hits its high water mark, at least in terms of price. At $2000 a bottle, it’s more than twice as expensive as the next priciest whisky in the collection.
Let’s try it out.
The nose is instantly aggressive with sherry character — boldly nutty, almost overpowering as it nearly obliterates some well-roasted cereal notes underneath. The bold sherry attack continues to the palate, where some hints of coal and ash — iconic elements of well-aged Mortlach — come to the fore. Hazelnut and walnut notes take over from there, with an edge of raisin and plum evolving in time. The finish is long and soothing, with a very light smoky edge that balances out a stronger sweetness on the back end. Nicely balanced, though quite a bit less complex than I was expecting.
It may not be my unilateral favorite whisky in the 2019 lineup, but it is the one I polished off the quickest.