21 years old, distilled 26th November 1996, 48.9% abv, First Fill Ex-Oloroso Hogshead, 231 bottles, dram price G
The nose has hints of old medical kits - plasters and bandages with a touch of liniment. There’s also gentle touches of mango, passion fruit and watermelon balanced against incense candle smoke and petrichor. The mouthfeel is thin with no cling. The body has an initial hit of gentle smoke and roast pork with crackling that’s almost burnt. Then the fruit arrives, watermelon and passion fruit, all fading into incense smoke. There isn’t much of a finish - just a tapering off for the smoke.
Water brings out thin, rapidly expanding whorling that settles quickly into brief mottling. The nose gains more mango and passion fruit, and loses a little of the liniment. The body gains more of the smoke, which is also now crisper and less scented. The fruit is a bit louder and sharper, and the roast pork is absent. The finish is still quiet, but gains smokey bacon notes.
This is a magnificent dram, well balanced. But if you’re expecting a long and big finish then this isn’t the dram for you. If you want balance and poise, then it is.
One for summer evenings as the sun sets.
Technical score: 4.5/5
Personal preference: I’d like a bottle.
This whisky was provided by the SMWS in a preview session - thanks to them for that. Full editorial control has been retained in the tasting process.