This is one of the Dufftown distilleries and by far the oldest dating back to1823, the next not appearing until 1887 in the form of Glenfiddich. A bewildering number of owners of Mortlach came and went until John Walker & Sons purchased it a hundred years later from the Cowie family in 1923, two years before Walker’s became part of DCL. George Cowie & Son Limited continued as a subsidiary of Walker’s and was for a long time the licensee of Mortlach and so that connection remained for many years.
Without going into exacting detail, suffice to say here that Mortlach’s claim to fame is its unique method of distillation – not quite triple distillation but close to it and producing a particularly robust whisky in much demand by the blenders for its richness of flavour and bouquet, but also highly prized, for much the same reasons, as a single malt. It is, thus, a very different animal from the other, more traditional Speyside distilleries in the vicinity. It remains an important component of the Johnnie Walker blends, which may be why its future and, indeed, expansion is assured. The relatively scarce early examples as a single malt, whether from the distillery itself or from the independent bottlers, will surely see their values increase as Mortlach becomes better known.