Diageo has unveiled its plan to pump new life into the Mortlach Distillery by releasing four new single malt expressions and by investing nearly $50 million in a second, replica still house that will double production and place Mortlach as a major global competitor in the single malt category.
Described as “the Beast of Dufftown” for its rich and powerful “beefy” flavors, Mortlach’s output has been largely captured by Diageo’s blenders to add its unique notes to the company’s blended whiskies – though in recent times, a very limited number of bottles of Mortlach single malt whisky have been available.
Now, and in response to current demand and suggestions over the years, it will be available in four expressions in global markets beginning in July 2014. These include Rare Old, Special Strength, Mortlach 18-year-old and Mortlach 25-year-old, which will be divided into North America, Asia, Europe and travel retail markets. Further details of pricing and packaging will be released in early 2014.
The oldest of the “Seven Stills of Dufftown” and founded in 1823, Mortlach is one of the epicenters of Speyside whisky distilling. Scottish civil engineer George Cowie accepted a partnership at the Mortlach distillery in 1852, before becoming sole owner in 1867.
In 1896, and after George’s death, his son Alexander assumed control of the distillery. Leveraging his scientific and engineering background, Alexander developed the unique distillation system used to create the highly complex and richly flavored whisky that we know today – know to many as the “2.81 distillation method.” Diageo has owned the Mortlach Distillery since 1925.
The new still house will be built next the current one and will be comprised of three new wash stills and three new spirit stills, in exact replica of the six in use today. Work will begin on the new still house in 2014 with hopes of completion by 2017.