The colour is pale gold and the texture shows the typical fat Rare Malts oiliness with late sticky tears that very slowly build some legs. The nose is ... nice on a bourbon sweet and autumn floral-herbal profile with a lot of different aromas. It is not as punchy as one would expect from 61.9% abv, in fact it is rather smooth and balanced. It arrives on the palate hot and coating with no distracting moments. The taste is sugary sweet with again herbal-floral flavours that are later joined by some dried fruits and hints of raspberries. Not too bad. The finish is long and more on the berries side with less herbs and spices. It gets a little hot due to the high abv, too.
This dram is an excellent swimmer. After adding some water the aromas literally explode both in the nose and on the palate (2 points up) and the hot moments during mouthfeel and finish are gone (1 point up). It is certainly best with a fair share of water added.
Given the quality of this dram Hillside (or Glenesk) is clearly underrated when it comes to lost distilleries.