Nose: great fruity notes (redcurrant, some tangerine, grapefruit, passion fruit) – fresh fruits mixed with dried fruits (raisins) and a lovely layer of oak polish / wax. Quite aromatic with a few floral touches. Some spices to add some depth. Whiffs of mint. Rounder than most of the Fino casks that we’ve seen recently, or so it seems.
Mouth: starts on sweet grapefruit followed by plenty of spices and some grassy notes. The honeyed oloroso is noticeable in the background. Then getting drier and sharper with ginger and pepper and a growing bitterness (citrus zest). Still slightly waxy.
Finish: like other Lochsides from this era: long with lemon zest and a Palo Cortado kind of woodiness.
It’s difficult to choose between all the great 1981 Lochsides we’ve seen lately. This is one of the more rounded with attractive fruits on the nose (more than the Fino casks). It’s just the bitterish and zesty flavours that keep me from scoring it much higher, but that’s part of the Lochside character as well. Excellent and exemplary – one of the best 1981’s for me.
N: Rich and fruity initially with red apples and delicious old polished oak. Gets slightly waxy after a minute. Golden syrup and treacle. Quite raisiny. Hazelnuts, praline, getting more honeyed. Cocoa, flapjacks and dark chocolate. The oak notes become leafy and heathery, almost perfumed. Very fresh and pleasant despite its age. Water lifts apricots, sugared almonds and wonderful grassy compost and wax jacket aromas - classic old Highland notes.
P: Big wave of oak spices, then toasty malt. More savoury than the nose suggested - almost beefy. Obviously a serious whisky, but quite hot and drying at full strength - water required. When added, becomes nutty and waxy - hints of old Clynelish or Balblair. Once the water has asssimilated this is really something special.
F: Sustained oak, some brine and 'sherry-ness' if that's a word. Almost more like an Amontillado than an Oloroso.
C: Thirty years in Oloroso wood can't disguise the fact that this is top-end old-school Highland distillate of the highest order. It really needs a drop of water to reveal it's full potential, but the neat nose is sublime as well.