Gordon & Macphail Connoisseurs Choice Mortlach 1994 25 year old Cask #8181

Ending the week with a big, bold sherry matured single cask Mortlach from a few years ago.

Gordon & Macphail Connoisseurs Choice Mortlach 1994 25 year old Cask #8181

Region: Speyside

ABV: 55.9%

Price: £225.00

Distilled 31st August 1994, and left to mature in a 1st fill sherry butt for 25 years before being 28th of August 2020 as part of the Connoisseurs Choice - Cask Strength. The cask produced 606 bottles.


The nose opens with a light yet well integrated sherry influence. We’re getting cinnamon sticks, maraschino cherries, orange peel, buttery popcorn, toffee and overripe pear. Going back and we’re finding sweeter vanilla notes, herbal tea, fizzy cola bottles and musty dunnage warehouse aromas. The alcohol feels well integrated, but it is a bit more prominent than expected for the age. Time and air brings a little nutmeg alongside old school walnut whips.


The palate starts off with a mixture of creamy vanilla ice cream, roasted pineapple, sour cherry, white pepper, moving into caramel shortcakes, fudge brownies and rocky road biscuits. It’s quite a decadent dram, mixing initial fresh, fruity flavours with deeper, richer tastes as the palate develops. Going back and we’re getting a little raisin, treacle and warm oak spice on the good length finish. The mouthfeel is a touch thinner than we’d like, although some of the creamier notes that come through help to combat that.

Nose (with water)

The reduced nose is a little mustier, a bit of wet earth, leaves, more oak coming through now too. We’re finding much less of the sherry influence for some reason, it’s got more of a bourbon cask aroma now. Coming back to it, we’re getting figs, some floral perfumed aromas and leather boots.

Palate (with water)

The reduced palate has much more upfront meatiness, more akin to what we’d expect from Mortlach. The richer sherry flavours come through much quicker, the nutmeg, clove and cinnamon all front and centre. There’s less upfront alcohol, but the pepperiness still appears on the latter part of the palate. There’s also some red berries and currants appearing now.


Quite a complex whisky, one that takes your nose and palate on a journey through sweet, sour, savoury, and rich aromas and flavours. Water brings out more of the stereotypical Mortlach we come to expect, but we prefer the lighter, fresher undiluted version. The sherry cask is well balanced, we’re surprised to see it’s a first fill butt as it reminds us much more of a well aged refill cask instead. Quite lovely.

Score: 8/10


While this was a little pricey on release we’d be surprised if you could pick up a similar bottle now for the same price.

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  • 10 - Perfection. One in a million
  • 9 - Outstanding. Exceptional whisky.
  • 8 - Great. Would seek this out.
  • 7 - Good. Quality whisky.
  • 6 - Above average. Happy to have a dram.
  • 5 - Average. Drinkable whisky.
  • 4 - Below average. Passable.
  • 3 - Flawed. Noticeable negatives.
  • 2 - Defective. Significant faults.
  • 1 - Offensive. Pour it out.

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