N: An intial burst of clean, fresh malt, then the oak makes its presence felt in a reassuringly refined way - without becoming too dusty or dominant. Dried bark, old books, polished bookcases - there's a distinct sense of the library in a gentleman's club here, all sophistication and gravitas. Develops some faint notes of blackcurrant flower, tweed, shredded marmalade, cocoa powder, cinnamon and clove.
Time and aeration are required for this reserved, yet supremely elegant, nose to fully reveal itself. Water reveals sugared almonds and a linseed oil aroma.
P: Medium-full weight. Apple, sugar, and then a big surge of warm oak spices, teetering on the edge of dustiness. A lot of clove, with some cinnamon bark and white pepper. The cocoa from the nose emerges mid-palate, with some shortbread and pie pastry notes. The oak is the star here, though. Water lifts the tweediness and highlights the spices.
F: Decent length, and great balance of the oak, which is restrained from astringency by delicious sweet malt flitting between the gaps. Water reveals a more lemony citrus character
C: A real surprise from a distillery normally known only for a so-so FF bottling and as a workhorse for the J&B blend. Great on its own or with a (small) drop of water.