31 January 2009

Harviestoun Old Engine Oil/Ola Dubh (SCO)

I came upon a bottle of Harviestoun's special Ola Dubh ("black oil"), and figured I should first try Old Engine Oil. The former is based on the latter, but is matured in whisky casks for some time, mine for 12 years. 


Old Engine Oil: Viscous, Chocolatey, Roasty, says the label. Designated as an old ale, I wouldn't argue if they called it a stout. Roasted malts and chocolate provide an overall effect of bittersweetness. Very slightly fruity. Unfortunately not as rich and full as I would have hoped.

Ola Dubh (12 year): This comes in a much fancier bottle, with a paper cover over the cap and a necklace tag. The label says it was bottled in September 2007 and is signed by both the Head Brewer and Master of Wood. This one really is viscous -- inky black, with some purple around the edge. The body is very lightly carbonated and geared toward sipping. The aroma seems slightly asian to me: miso? mirin? Taste is stout-ish, with roasted malts and chocolate, but there's a bit of a raisiny element to it. Subtle whisky components come through, smoke/peat and warming of the ribcage. This is 8% versus 6% for Old Engine Oil. I like Ola Dubh a lot. Whether the versions aged in a whisky cask for longer would taste better or perhaps be too much, I can't say.

No surprise that Ola Dubh is the better of the two, but I also think it's better when adjusted for the price. Old Engine Oil for me isn't special enough to pay something like $4 a bottle here in the States. Old Dubh, on the other hand, is special enough to be worth the occasional $8 a bottle.

4 comments:

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