93.95 - Tails of the sea

15 years old, distilled 6th May 2002, 56.6% abv, Refill Ex-Bourbon Barrel, 234 bottles, dram price D

SMWS 93.95 - Tails of the seaThe nose has crabs, diesel oil, tar, creosote - yet balances these with light notes of heather and lavender. Divine. The mouthfeel is thin with no cling. The body has more of the levander and the oily notes from the nose, alongside lemon and menthol with some aniseed hints. The finish has lavender, creosote and aniseed.

Water brings out thin, rapidly expanding whorling that dissipates incredibly quickly - the whisky is visibly sucking up the water! The nose gains menthol and loses some of the crab and creosote. The body gains more menthol and some hints of orange oil, and loses a little lavender (but it's still there!). The finish gains more aniseed.

That aniseed is almost dominant after water, but there's so much else going on that it's OK - the oily notes and sweet notes dance around each other in a ballet that absorbs your attention. Why people don't make more of a fuss about this distillery is a mystery to me...

One for autumn evenings after dinner,

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!