That’s a recognizable scotia nose! Star anise, dried oranges, wood resin, pine tree, charcoal and freshness in like eucalyptus. Rich and tasteful! The rather high ABV is very well detectable. It gives the nose, at least neat, a slightly tart feeling. It gets less with hand warmth. Old leather, polished oak and licorice take over. The nose clearly gets more accessible when adding 3ml of water on a 25ml. More oaky flavors like sawdust, charred oak and definitely more fruity flavors are released! It boosts the complexity.
Oily and rather aggressive without water. Loads of rough dried spices and a little further down the line some fruits like pear and sour apple. It reminds me of Nutella hazelnut paste as well. But I hope that water loosens things up a bit. Just like in the shop this afternoon I have the feeling this one has more to offer when the beast is tamed. Yep, that’s clearly the case here. But be a little easy on the water. The body tends to be rather fragile. Just 3ml makes the body quite a bit thinner. It’s right on the edge. Star anise comes through better as well as pine tree flavors. Some coconut and vanilla cream as well.
Rather long and powerful without water. The peppery alcoholic driven body blocks the more subtle flavors to come out. Quite some oily and silky flavors after a while. Again a little tart-like feeling that seems to build up over in time. Also the finish gets so much more friendly with 3ml of water. It brings out the flavors that were hidden before underneath to much alcohol. It gives room to more ‘bourbon-like’ flavors like vanilla, honey, sweet apple and nutmeg. The nuttiness in like hazelnut and star anise come back as well.
Well… where to start. If you want to rush things, just don’t pour yourself this dram. In my opinion this is not a beginners dram. It’s something to take time and patience with. Work with it, play with it. Too quick and you’ll be disappointed. Taking it easy will show it’s true potential. Water brings back the balance between hyper active, heavily charred oak and the oloroso casks, so it seems to me. I’m not sure yet if this my cup of tea. Luckily I still have another 2-3cl to try again after some oxidation.