Mortlach is a classic Speyside single malt with a cult following thanks to independent bottlings from the likes of Gordon & MacPhail.
The distillery was first licensed in 1823 by Alex Gordon, Donald Mackintosh and James Findlater. When the Grant brothers part-owned the distillery for a time, they removed all the production equipment for their Glent Grant distillery. As a consequence, Mortlach fell silent for another period in its history. After closure, and a short stint as a brewery, Mortlach resumed whisky production in 1852 when John Gordon bought the Dufftown site.
In the 1850s, under George Cowie and his son Alexander’s stewardship, Mortlach became a well-respected blending malt. To this day, it is a key component in Johnnie Walker blends.
William Grant of William Grant & Sons worked at Mortlach for almost 20 years, while it was under the ownership of Cowie. Grant, who joined as a bookkeeper, left to set up his own distilleries – Glenfiddich in 1886 and The Balvenie in 1892.
The distillery is famous for the 2.81 time distillation, established in 1896. This means that spirit is partly double, triple and quadruple distilled. When the three spirits are combined, this equates to 2.81 times distilled. The resulting liquid is rich and full-bodied. It is typically Speyside in style, with delicate smoke, malt and fruity notes.
Mortlach has been owned by John Walker & Sons, Distillers Company Limited and Diageo, its current owners. Independent bottlings of Mortlach and inclusion in Diageo’s Flora & Fauna range cemented its reputation as a highly collectable and sought-after single malt whisky.