Nose: Caramel, sea spray, foliage, green ferns, rock pools and gravel. Campfire smoke, charred lemons and limes. Quite dry.
Palate: Sweet but with a savoury, gravelly touch. Brine, cracked pepper, sweet chocolate, bitter herbs and lots of alcohol heat. Beach bonfires, with a touch of burnt rubber, dark wood and damp ash develop. Water calms down the heat and brings out sweet hammy smoke, sweet fruit and a touch of tar.
Finish: Dark burnt wood, chocolate and, with water, some sweet red fruit.
Comment: The biggest dram of the night, with a facepunch of smokiness and flavour. Not as fresh as I was expecting from previous releases, but happily marrying the traditionally richer style of the 16yo with some greener, more herbal notes that would get rounded off with more time in the cask. This wasn’t my last dram of the night, but probably should have been – a good’un.
Appearance: Extremely pale green-gold.
Nose: Soft, beguiling and cautious at first, when an appetising sharpness slowly crystallises into red berry fruit, then developing soft, savoury aromas and a delicious smoky sweetness. Savoury hints of charred baked potato skins cooked in a bonfire come first, then peat smoke and a box of spent matches come through. Later still, there are teasing, oily hints of sharp tropical fruit (lime pickle?). These aromas are altogether softer with water; less tense and underscored by youthful sweetness. There are smoky-fresh notes, then raisins and dried fruit, with distant wood smoke.
Body: Light. Oily.
Palate: Cooling at first, then salty, drying and dusty, with a good balance of sweetness and acidity. Beautifully cleansing, like a salad of tarragon and peppery rocket, then really appetizing, as if a char-grilled endive splashed with peppery olive oil. The charred notes then strengthen, into smoky wax. Sweeter with water and more accessible, as captivating notes of aniseed and fennel seeds give way to charred fruit scones and burnt jam tarts.
Finish: Simultaneously sweet and savoury, dominated by pungent smoke and appetising aniseed. With growing warmth, it becomes oily near the end. With water it is sweet and abrupt with subdued smoke; pleasantly drying and piney.