Strength: 43 %
A big, beautiful nose suggests refined oak even beyond the 18 years on the label, and if not for that label I would have guessed this whisky to be at least 25 years old. Behind the rich, leathery oak is a good amount of raisins and wine cask influence. The oak and raisin balance well with the traditional Oban flowers and graham crackers. Ahhh, what a nose, which I liked better than all of the whiskies I benchmarked this against, including both Balvenie 21 and Talisker 25.
The palate is not as strong as the nose would suggest, but the liquid simply melts into the tongue and is one of the smoothest Scotches I have had. The oak and raisins are not as assertive here as on the nose, allowing the salt-licked rocks and dried flowers to fully realize. The dry finish is medium length, which has a nice little smoke and leaves a final taste of honey, dried fruit, and charcoal. 94 points (A).
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