Mortlach ‘Cigar Malt’ 1999 Chieftain’s / Or Sileis & Twin Lions Society
Ian Macleod & Co was founded in 1933, and was acquired by Peter J Russell thirty years later, running alongside William Maxwell & Co as subsidiaries for many years, producing a range of blends and independent single malt bottlings. This is their flagship Chieftain’s label. Peter J Russell rebranded as Ian Macleod Distillers in 2003, at the same time as achieving their long-held ambition of becoming distillery owners, acquiring Glengoyne, and later, Tamdhu and Rosebank.
Distilled in December 1999 at an undisclosed Speyside distillery (confirmed to be Mortlach), this ‘Cigar Malt ‘ was fully aged in a first fill sherry butt #800195. One of 560 bottles produced exclusively for Or Sileis and the Twin Lions Society.
Mortlach was founded in 1823 and was the first of Dufftown’s “Seven Stills” to be licensed. It rose to pre-eminence under George Cowie & Son, who’s unique distillation regime produced a famously “meaty” whisky, which was highly prized by blenders. It was for this reason that it was acquired by John Walker & Sons, and so important to them was it that little stock was left available for bottling as a single malt. The Flora & Fauna release was the first official distillery bottling, but it was not until 2014 that Mortlach was bottled under its own fully fledged single malt brand. Thankfully, there have been many spectacular releases from independent labels like this over the years.