Thanks to member Waykid for the sample.
Tasted with HP 30yo 48.1% (92 pts.)
Dry wood with some herbal touches. Saltwater, some machine grease, and some beefiness. If you'd call the 25s and 30s bottled in the 2000s refined or luxurious, this one is more characterful, and more saturated with those distinctive notes of pre-70's distillates. Some wet clay comes up with water, and a certain fruitiness that is like nothing I've found in HPs distilled in the later times. All told, this is a much more coastal offering on the nose than anything of any age you could buy from HP right now.
A maritime whisky this, with a fair bit of biting peat. Kelp and sea salt, and some kind of industrial lubricant. There's some sherry notes here as well in the form of quality coffee and faint cloves, but they're discreet compared to current sherried HP releases. Is there some OBE or is it just the distillate? We may never know. What it certainly is is much wilder than the current crop of older HP core range bottles, which feel managed and fine tuned compared to this creature from the sea.
Neat the finish is a bit flat. It's salty, faintly tarry, and with a bit of that old style, chewy sherry oak. Its oiliness helps coat the tastebuds well but it's not particularly vivid. There is a bitter edge to it, which is amplified by water, presenting a dilemma: put water in it and get more of the distillate's fruit on the palate at the cost of a rounder but more bitter finish, or go neat and miss the tropical notes for a better balance but slight hollowness in the finish?