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Mortlach replaces range with single malt trio

Diageo has replaced its Mortlach single malt Scotch range with three new bottlings – a 12-year-old, 16-year-old and 20-year-old.

The new Mortlach trio will replace the four expressions in the range

The new expressions – 12-year-old Wee Witchie, 16-year-old Distiller’s Dram and 20-year-old Cowie’s Blue Seal – are described as bringing “the dark side of Speyside to life”.

The range will replace the four expressions in Mortlach’s range, which comprises Mortlach Rare Old, Special Strength, an 18-year-old and a 25-year-old. The range was first revealed in 2014, following an £18 million investment in doubling the capacity of the distillery.

Mortlach is produced using a distillation process called ‘the way’, which effectively distils the liquid 2.81 times. The process has remained unchanged since it was invented by the distiller’s son Dr Alexander Cowie in 1896.

The method gives the single malt Scotch a “distinct and thick” character, leading it to be dubbed ‘the beast of Dufftown’.

Bottled at 43.4%, the 12-year-old Wee Witchie has “toasty oak tones” on the nose, a “sweet, almost smoky” palate, with a “dry, slightly sooty” finish. It is priced at £50.

Distiller’s Dram is a 16-year-old single malt, priced at £80. It has orchard fruit and earthy notes on the nose, a “toffee-like” palate and a “long, complex, meaty” finish.

Meanwhile, Cowie’s Blue Seal 20-year-old is described as having a “waxy, earthy, meaty element” and “overripe fruits and a touch of spiciness” on the palate. It has an RRP of £200 and is bottled at 43.4% abv.

Dr Craig Wilson, master blender, said: “These whiskies really stand out in Speyside. For me it’s the way the unique 2.81 process gives you such an intensely complex liquid and character from the minute it comes off the still; it’s like having three distilleries at the one still house.

“Our job is to hone the character in the right way to give you three well balanced whiskies of unparalleled richness and complexity.”

Mark Brunton, distillery manager, said: “It’s an honour to work in a distillery with such a distinct heritage and I love the challenge that comes with it. We worked with our colleagues in maturation to create a diverse range with each at its heart still reflecting the bold distillery flavour.

“The 16-year-old is a classic Mortlach expression, while the 12-year-old offers a strong distillery character through its use of refill casks. The 20-year-old offers a balance of character and distillery character with active wood.”

The new expressions will launch initially in Taiwan this autumn, followed by other markets.

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