Harviestoun: Old Dubh 40 Year Special Reserve (Scotland: Old Ale: 8% ABV)

(Aged in Highland Park Whisky Casks)

Visual: Black, a thin brown froth eases away leaving a bubbling around the edge of the glass. Small bubbles fizz up from its impenetrable centre.

Nose: Charcoal, sickly sweet treacle. Peat and salt, sea cliff breezes over an oil spill. Id be lying if I said the Islay charm and almost medicinal nature where not hinted at. Victorian house attics and ageing cellars.

Body: Light for a second then rich expensive sweets, luxury boxes worth. Butterscotch froth. A feeling of descent into deep rocky canyons. Sweet strawberry crème centre as the chocolate breaks open. Roasted and sugared nuts intertwined. Surprisingly slick mouthfeel.

Finish: Dry oak, sweet black toffee, warm alcohol haze .liquorice. A whisky air and memories of a fire warmed room. Raw cane sugar.

Conclusion: It’s hard to say when the whisky end and the ale begins. A wonderful harshness on a rich and playful beer that feels very stout like in its composition. Worth just breathing air in over you tongue after swallowing a large mouthful to enjoy its whisky finish. Drinkable like a lighter ale, but enjoyable and rewarding to investigate like a fine beer, and probable for depths like a fine whisky.

In comparison with the Paradox stout expressions I’ve tried from the mighty Brewdog brewery this beer beats them out to be the finest whisky aged beer I have sampled yet.

Another beer for careful consideration and verbal dissection with a verbose group of companions. Top notch.