Colour: The 13y is of pale gold, the 30y is two shades darker at old gold and the 33y is another two shades darker at amber. The texture of the 33y shows fat sticky tears that refuse to build legs for a long time, the 30y has many small tears that consolidate to a sticky ring that builds a few fat tears with slow legs and the 13y shows the same oiliness as the 30y.
Nose: The 13y offers a somewhat immature nose on mainly spring floral notes, the 30y is much more complex on floral, nutty and barley sugary aromas while the 33y offers a truly fine nose on all the above plus some spices and herbs. I like the 33y best closely followed by the 30y. The 13y is much weaker. Initial mouthfeel: The 33y arrives warming and a little coating without any distracting moments, the 30y is somewhat more coating with a minor peppery adstringent feeling and the 13y arrives hot and a little bitter-adstringent from heavy tannins. I go for a draw between the 33y and 30y. The 13y is again significantly weaker.
Taste: The 13y offers a rich but somewhat austere taste profile of floral, herbal and wooden flavours. The 30y is about the same profile but with fine nutty and fruity notes added. It is much more complex with an interesting nutty spike. The 33y is even more complex and for sure more balanced than the 30y with more of the fine fruity, heather honey and spicy flavours. This round takes the 33y clearly (and guess how I rate the 13y).
Finish: The 33y has a long finish with more sugary-sweet and spicy flavours without any distracting bitter, drying or adstringent notes. The 30y owns a medium to long finish on mostly barley sugary and spicy wooden flavours, interestingly the nuttiness is somewhat gone now. The finish of the 13y is long but it dries out with some adstringentness from heavy tannins, unfortunately. Again the 33y is the clear winner and the 13y looses this round again.
Water opens up the 33y nicely and releases more aromas, nevertheless I like the neat dram better. Reducing the 30y does not work that well as the water releases some unwanted bitter notes, again the neat dram is best. The 13y clearly benefits from adding water as the dryness/adstringent moments vanish to a large part and the whisky gets much more approachable.
This was a very interesting experience. Obviously the cask of the 13y was a first fill that contributed too much tannins from the fresh wood so it had to be bottled very early (to avoid it gets even more bitter and adstringent). The 30+y old drams matured in refill casks, for sure, and so they could stand the test of time and developed a much more complex and balanced fine whisky profile out of basically the same distillate. I like the 33y best but the 30y is a fine dram too, definitely. The 13y shows why fresh (new wood) casks are not really recommended to Scotch whisky spirits except you bottle it at very young ages (NAS) already...