Just like you, but different
200 beers that I’ve written about, and this one is #200 – A Harviestoun – Ola Dubh Special Reserve 18. Seems appropriate that I get there with something a little left field.
Numbered bottles and everything.
So, a 330 ml bottle of a 8.0% ABV beer, which on it’s own is 2.8 standard drinks. Perhaps an imprudent way to get to 200 🙂 and so early in the evening.
Nice packaging, fancy label, little neck note think, foil wrapped cap
Bottle # 02852 December 2012. Should be good until November 2015 if you had to keep it in a dark place. Which I’m not about to do.
Ola Dubh (or “Black Oil“) is so named because it is gloopy and viscous. This limited release has been matured in casks from Orkney’s award-winning Highland Park distillery to add complimentary whisky notes to what is already an amazing brew. It is chocolatey with a roasty, bittersweet aftertaste. Special Reserve 18, whisky notes: Highland Park 18 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky was named Best Spirit in the World by F. Paul Pacult; it offers toffee sweetness, almond nuttiness and a prolonged, smoky aftertaste.
The initial whisky hit on the nose gives way to more delicate aromas of chocolate, fruity coffee grounds and hints of woodland berries. The flavour is a very appetising blend of sweet malts, vanilla, oak and tobacco. It has undertones of raisins and other dark, dried fruits; a delicious testament to Highland Park’s bias toward sherry casks.
Initial aroma is of deep fruit raisin fruits. Deep dark black pour, but true to form no head :-). Aroma remains as raisin based.
Smokey taste, but not raw and rough, soft edged if you will. And a bag of carry with it too., not all up front. Some chocolate notes, and you begin to pick the whiskey theme, it’s a pretty multi-layer affair.
These are difficult beers to be enthusiastic about in the sense of beer drinking as a thing. As a beer that’s a thing this is fantastic and something special. But it’s not a beer that you bowl up to your local and start in on, it’s an occasion beer. I can’t imagine anyone getting a 6 pack of this in. It’s a connoisseur beer fair and square, face it if you wanted a whiskey you’d have one, But as a whiskey based beer, the deuce!
Also, and adding to that, this isn’t a beer you take to an event, unless the event it a beer tasting. You wouldn’t get this out in a drinking ‘session’, it’s something you have to stop and think about, and talk about, in my opinion. This does not make it a bad beer, just a beer that doesn’t really have a place. I’d take it around to someone that I wanted to impress, I couldn’t take this to a group to a group of mates, because well it’d be expensive for them to all have a crack at enjoying it. And for that it wouldn’t make a good gift beer in many instances.
Do I like it? Heck yes. It’s smooth, enjoyable, tasty, complex, challenging and just nice. The lovely smokey taste, the thick raisin sweetness, the subtle whiskey , and that alarming way the glass is now empty.
The pdubyah-o-meter says 10. Swing and a Ding!
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