Nose: we're much closer to the Lochnagar than to the Brackla, although this baby starts more on leather and walnuts, with unexpected whiffs of capers and samphires. Very peculiar, must come from the oak. Then more wood smoke, dark toffee and coffee, chocolate… Easy nosing at such high strength. Yet, with water: ho-ho, we got very close to the Lochnagar now. This one has just a little more humus and aniseed. Swims like a champ. Touches of maraschino coming through after a few minutes.
Mouth (neat): Cointreau and coffee, with some cured ham in the background. Sounds weird? It isn't, quite the opposite… The oak does a large part of the job but it does it well, imparting notes of cedar wood, cigar, bacon (a lot!) and really a lot of bitter chocolate. Yet it's not drying or bitter, not at all… And it's surprisingly drinkable at such high strength.
With water: gets sweeter and rounder although the oak never gives up. Great notes of gentian and other rooty/bitter stuff. Finish: long, with more mint and cough lozenges from the oak. The chocolate is back in the aftertaste, together with lemon zests and more mint. After Eights?
Comments: I think it's very difficult to keep an old whisky balanced when the oak's quite loud but this baby is a success in this respect. And frankly, at around £500, it's kind of fairly priced for an OB. Recommended unless you hate oak