...and it is, what else? This release is another proof of the great distillery profile HP owns and if they use good casks the results are always above-average. Unfortunately, in this respect HP acted rather unfortunately during the most recent whisky boom time under the new owners (an investment company) that go rather for the quick buck instead of quality. But this very fine dram was distilled way before that (around 1980) and you sniff and taste it from the very first sip: This is a great Traditional Scotch that is both very interesting to explore and dangerously quaffable to sip. Forget about the newer batches of the 25-years-old and rather invest some more bucks in such an older release - it is worth the premium, I swear!
The colour is deep gold and the nose offers a rather strange old wooden note at the first sniff that turns quickly into the smell of the library room of an old Scottish Gentlemen's Club right after the gentlemen left it (old leather, old woods, furniture polish and cold cigar smoke). Not sure if this is to everybody's liking but once you have been in such a room in Scotland in person I guess everyone will like it (because of the great impressions you will experience there). After some breathing the fine HP honeys and fruits join in as do the sherry aromas (nuts, raisins, liquorice and more). It gets more waxy and resinous over time with shy herbal notes added. This nose started at an 85 score (immediately after serving the dram) and ended at astonishing 91 points after fifteen minutes of oxidation. So take your time with this fine dram...
The taste is even richer with more powerful notes of peaty, honey, waxy, spicy and wooden flavours in a perfectly balanced mix. It is greatly chewable and offers additional flavours in several layers this way - actually, chewing is mandatory on this dram! Tasty chocolates (both dark and milk) and chestnuts pop up together with floral and grassy notes as well as toffee-marzipan. No flaw or imbalance, this is very enjoyable...
The initial mouthfeel is warming and instantly coating with a minor drying moment of cold metals that I like. The finish is long and adds more spices and wooden notes. No distracting bitter or drying moments here, all is flawless (again). Water releases many additional aromas in the nose (among them an interesting fruity bubble gum-ish note) and flavours on the palate (more fruits and honeys) - so if you own a sweet tooth add some water. I like this dram both neat and somewhat reduced to about 43% abv.