A Pair of 13 Year Old Scotches at Unbeatable Prices at K&L California – Scotch Whisky News

Not-to-be-Missed 13-Year-Old “Hepburn’s Choice” Exclusives

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The Hepburn’s Choice line has provided us with some of our best Scotch values in recent months and today’s pair is no exception. Thanks to the magic of teaspooning, we can offer these all-but-in-name single malts for a fraction of the price one would expect. Mortlach’s 13 Year Old is a perfect example of this value, as it’s the same price as the 9-year-old single malt we offered from this distillery last year. The four extra years of age have imparted a superb depth of flavor to this Scotch, as its weighty, meaty characteristics are starting to really show. The Dalmore 13 Year Old is a bottling that might open some eyes to the quality of this distillery. Bottled at cask strength and without the caramel coloring that is otherwise the standard of this brand, this is an opportunity to taste Highland Scotch at its purest, a literal distillation of what this region has to offer. Due to their excellent pricing and quality, we’ve seen past batches of Hepburn’s Choice sell out in a flash, and, considering what’s on offer here, we expect the same level of enthusiasm. Act quickly to make this unique duo your own.

2007 Below Bhainidh (Mortlach) 13 Year Old “Hepburn’s Choice” K&L Exclusive Single Hogshead Cask Strength Blended Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)

Another stunning deal from the excellent Hepburn’s Choice line. We made a conscious decision to bottle all our single cask malts from this line as blended malt, adding a tiny drop of whisky from another distillery to the cask, thereby reclassifying it and saving everyone tons of cheese! More proof of that plan coming together exists in this awesome bottle. We were barely able to sell a 9 year old Mortlach last year from the same bottler for under $60, and now we can offer a 13 year old version for nearly the same price. The awesome Mortlach Distillery is in Dufftown. Dufftown’s Gaelic name is Baile Bhainidh (pronounce Bal-Venie), meaning Lucky Town! Mortlach sits to the south of Dufftown’s more famous distilleries Balvenie and Glenfiddich, in a hollow that nearly hides it completely from view from the road. It was, in fact, the first legal distillery in this special town founded in 1823 on the site of an illicit still, hence the hollow. The distillery features an unusual 2.81 times distillation, long fermentation times and worm tub cooling resulting in an uncommonly beefy spirit. But this youngish Mortlach offers another side of the excellent malt. Filled into a refill hoggie in 2007, it offers some serious fruit along with a deep malty spice. The meaty savory quality is there, but in the background, and can be teased out with a drop of water or two.

David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 12, 2021

We’ve had a nice chunk of young Mortlachs over the last few years. They’re typically solid and mostly ignored until suddenly a few people realize what a great value they are and buy the whole lot up. This new one is significantly older than the last one and only incrementally more expensive. We’ve also turned a corner, I believe, in maturity as compared to the young punchy ones we’ve previously bottled. The color is pale straw. The beast of Dufftown is often said to have a meaty character and that’s very subtle in the younger ones we’ve bottled. Here it’s really starting to come out. The savory bouillon character is now poking its head out from the fruit. But still we have big pear flavors as well. Around that hints of candied mint, wisps of clean (not peaty) smoke, jasmine tea. One the palate a big, rich pear-driven style, some vanilla and a bit of chalk. A nice splash of water adds some honey both to the nose and a palate. It’s still got a lot of the pear stuff going, although now a bit more herbs and slight black tea tickle. These are really starting to show off their weight and although they’re not very cask driven malts, we’re happy to be selling a ridiculously affordable malt from a famous distillery. As always don’t be shy with the water on these!

Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 10, 2020

Ahhh, Mortlach. Such a lovely and distinct malt! It’s so often sherry influenced that you rarely get to see the naked malt shine. Here we have a bright golden straw color and an abundance of fresh fruits. The spicy backbone is stout, showing where Mortlach’s power resides. With a little bit of water a deeper darker flavor comes out. Baker’s chocolate and fresh ground flour make you feel as though you’ve walked into a bakery. A fascinating drink for anyone, but most especially for those who are already fans of the distillery and really want to see what their malt is like without the bells and whistles of heavy cask influence. The price is of course stunning due to the lack of tariffs and our direct pricing structure—so don’t miss your chance to snag a couple. Only 271 bottles produced.

2007 Cromarty’s Firth (Dalmore) 13 Year Old “Hepburn’s Choice” K&L Exclusive Single Hogshead Cask Strength Blended Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) ($59.99)

TThe Dalmore Distillery is in Alness, a short drive north from Inverness on the firth of Cromarty. The North Coast boasts some of the most beautiful scenery in all of Scotland and is quickly becoming a world-renowned destination for Scotch lovers and driving enthusiasts alike. Amazingly, this is the first Dalmore we’ve ever bottled for the shop. We don’t see much Dalmore on the open market at all and when we do it’s nearly triple the price we’d ever pay. The Dalmore brand gets a bad rap from some of the whisky cognoscenti, thanks to their high prices, low abvs and ubiquitous use of caramel coloring. There’s some inexplicable desire to be seen ultra-luxurious, perhaps another Macallan of sorts, but of course, there can only be one luxury Highlander! And so Dalmore remains relatively obscure to the broader market and our understanding of the spirit is limited because we rarely get to taste it in its natural, cask-strength form. Indeed, almost all the Dalmore we get has some sherry or other wine cask finish incorporated in its composition. This, on the other hand, is Dalmore “au naturel.” It’s aged for just over 13 years in a refill hogshead and bottled, as all our single casks are, at cask strength without chill filtration or additives of any kind. The whisky is classically Highland with wisps of vanilla, creamy orchard fruit, some bright refreshing maltiness and a twinge of salty sea air. This cask includes one tiny drop of 13 yo Teaninich to get us in the blended malt category.

David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 12, 2021

This whisky is literally the first Dalmore we’ve ever bottled for the store. That’s not because we haven’t seen other casks of Dalmore in our years of searching Scotland, it’s because normally when we see one—even a young hogshead one like this—they’re typically outrageously expensive. I haven’t been able to figure out if that’s the power of the brand itself or simply the rarity and reputation of the whisky. Maybe it’s a chicken and the egg issue. Needless to say, when we can sell a cask strength single barrel for less than the distillery’s 12 year at 80 proof, we’re all ears. But this whisky isn’t just about the details on paper, it’s about experiencing a really high quality malt, in its natural form, for maybe the first time. Let’s have a taste. Immediately the purity and power are clear. Pure malted barley, just freshly toasted. The rawness of yeasty dough, hints of bitter almonds and grapefruit peel. On the palate, darker roasted barley, some herbal/vegetal flavors, relatively dry with almost bitter chocolate striking the mid palate. Like all these youngish hogsheads, we are obligated to taste this with a bit of good quality water. Just a few drops brings out more bitter citrus, hints of honey and fresh leaves. The palate becomes significantly spicier at first but with a few more drops it mellows. Still as it fades a long, big peppery spice takes hold. Despite the light color the flavors are DARK. Caramelized barley sugars, bitter chocolate, earthy wood, roasted spices. Not for the faint of heart by any means, but if you like a big rich and spicy malt driven whisky, you’ve might have found your poison. I actually like this right out of the bottle as much as with a bit of water, but it does hold its water well and continue to open and change with each drop you add. A really fun one to play with and a great value to say the least.

Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 10, 2020

This bottle is a coup for Dalmore fans. It’s impossible to get the spirit direct from the distillery without being proofed way back and laden with sherry (or for a reasonable price…). Here we have it all—refill hogshead lets the spirit shine. No coloring, no filtration, no water added. It’s unadulterated Dalmore and it’s damn near perfect. Vanilla custard, vanilla shortbread, and vanilla beans dominate the nose. A bit of fresh hay resides in the background. The palate is vivacious. It’s got spunk, zip, pluck, whatever you wanna call it, it’s alive and kickin’. Frankly a quality I don’t associate with the ultra rich and smooth OBs (not bad, just different). To me this is exciting and engaging in a totally different way. We have been offered a few Dalmore casks in the past, but the price is typically prohibitive. With Scottish partners and the tariff free teaspoon, this was too good to pass up.

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