Nose: Syrup, wax and crushed seashells, chamois leather and touches of brine. Water brings out more smoke, with a touch of citrus.
Palate: Sweet and salty, with charcoal, ash, flashes of pink wafer sweetness, dark woody notes and sweet green apple, both flesh and skin. Water amplifies the savoury and smoky, with glazed ham and leather, and also lemon sherbert touches.
Finish: Chocolate, liquorice, rich earth, herby hints and dark, perfumed smoke.
Comment: Much bigger and darker than I was expecting, this dram definitely does well with a drop water. It’s got the archetypical Special Release coastal notes as well as some great rich woody notes that don’t overpower.
Appearance: A clear amber, like antique gold in sunlight. Dense beading, suggesting rich texture.
Nose: Cautious and clean at first, with hints of dark toffee wrapped in wood smoke, then cooling oil of eucalyptus and a trace of bruised apple fruit. The wood smoke parts to reveal a savoury, meaty scent, then sweet honey, toasted cereals and a whole artist’s studio of oils. With water, it starts smoky (like vegetables on a barbecue) the underlying oiliness now punctuated by hints of lime.
Body: Light, oily, smooth.
Palate: Stunning. Caution is thrown to the winds as sweet and intense smoke races across the palate chased by fresh lemons, lemon zest and butter. This rich, fruity smoky-sweetness becomes tongue-coating, smooth dark chocolate enveloped in exquisite wood smoke. It drinks very well straight and when the attack slows, there’s yet more honey, lemon and a sprinkling of sea salt. If water is added it is smooth, lightly oily, much sweeter now and more accessible: still some salt, with a new spicy tingle.
Finish: Long, coating, intense and sustained, all pervading scented smoke, hints of mint and bergamot, then finally dense and savoury, with an aftertaste suggesting cloves.