Tasted with Port Ellen 7th release Islay Collection version (92 pts.), Caol Ila 1979 34yo cask 5297 (93), and Elements of Islay Pe5 (92).
Bone dry oak - the kind of an aroma that's extinct today - some pepper and a strongly peated, oily distillate. Water makes it tarrier, strengthens the peppery notes, and brings out some vague fruitiness and charred dry logs.
Oily old tools and pure peaty goodness with the kind of fattiness I wish I could find in modern whisky. Water makes it rounder but it loses none of its power. Complex, never ending shades of tar. A fair bit dirtier and odder than the other whiskys on the table (see below), but in a positive way.
The oak makes a comeback, and a spoonful of honeyed tar sits on my tongue for a long while.