While it pales in a side-to-side comparison with classical sherry-aged Mortlach like the G&M 15 year, this Murray bottling stands on its own with a very pleasing combination of roasted/toasted/meaty flavors and without cloying sweetness on the palate.
A stately, refined example of sherried Mortlach. Something about this distillery speaks of the Scotland of yore. Having never experienced the Scotland of yore, I can only assume it’s the combination of excellent sherry casks with the meaty, oily, rough-around-the-edges malt of Mortlach that gives me the impression.
Intended to serve as a showcase of the Glenrothes house characteristics without a vintage year (indeed without an age statement at all), the Glenrothes Select Reserve was the first non-vintage bottling added to the regular lineup at Glenrothes.
I’m particularly impressed with the interplay of sherry notes (which are fleeting) with peat notes (which are understated but dominant), without the two ever conflicting. I’ve had $80 peated malts finished in sherry casks that didn’t integrate half as well.
Longmorn has long been a sought-after component for blending. Robust and flavorful even without heavy cask treatment, it adds depth and sweetness to a blend. After several changes of hands, Longmorn is now owned by drinks giant Pernod Ricard.
Distilled at Longmorn on the 22nd of June 1992, cask 86620 was bottled at 52.8% ABV 20 years later, in 2012, exclusively for K&L Wine Merchants by independent brand The Exclusive Malts. This particular cask was distilled ON MY BIRTHDAY when I was 10 years old!
It has a burst of orange peel, with the funky “almost off” meaty/nutty notes familiar to GlenDronach fans. … I know times have changed, still I’m never crazy to pay above $50 for a 10 year-old malt. At least this one delivers in the glass.
This may indeed be “The Gentle Dram”, but even at 10 years of age it leaves a lot to be desired. The usual suspects for a Highland malt aged in middling ex-bourbon casks are present – the typical caramel, yeasty bread, brown sugar, and nuts – but nothing serves to elevate this dram above any other similarly-aged malt.
Speyburn 10, aged in ex-bourbon barrels and bottled at a respectable 43% ABV, is better than the younger NAS Bradan Orach. It costs about $3 to $5 more ($20 at BevMo here in California), and is better suited to sipping than any other $20 whisky I’ve tasted.
There aren’t many details about the makeup of Bradan Orach on Speyburn’s website. It’s matured exclusively in ex-bourbon casks. It’s a vatting of different ages (probably, considering the lack of an age statement), likely most younger than 10 years old. After tasting it, I’d venture a guess that the average age is around 6. And it’s unthinkably cheap for a single-malt at $15.