Leafy sherry, European oak, herbal richness, and dark, wild honey on the nose. Roasted almonds and creamy marzipan. Old leather and crème brulée. Soy sauce, beef consommé and game meats. Very rich and yes: dark indeed. Less HP smoke on the nose than expected, but it's there, behind wafts of first-fill sherry.
Oily in the mouth, tongue- and teeth-coating. Sweet at first, then turning toward oak spices, chocolate, and dark-roast Arabica coffee. The smoke accompanies everything but never plays first fiddle. Perfect drinking strength. Sweet and savory at the same time.
This is all good and well, and excellent modern HP, but the best part is the finish. A fusion of heathery peat smoke, honey and Espresso stays, and stays, and stays, and ... stays. This is a LONG finish, is what I'm saying, and the aromas that linger are on point and simply beautiful.
I was loathe to shell out 170 € for a 17-year-old with a slightly increased ABV, but after trying a sample I have to admit that it's worth it. One of the best whiskies I ever had was the Highland Park 30-year-old at 48%, which I can't afford, and this at least comes close. If I had to describe it, I would say: Imagine a mixture of the "Dark Origins" (which is very good) and the 30 y.o. (which is fucking sublime), and you have a rough idea of what awaits you here. Really well-made stuff.