Imagine you could milk the stamens of organic violets into a small butterscotch barrel, and you have the initial hit of the nose on this dram. There’s also heather, but it’s heather made from leather–and that’s not just a line from a dominatrix’s business card. Add water, and it morphs into limes marinated in an orange lassi. It’s a jarring morph, but not nearly as jarring as this one is. It’s highly aquamorpheous, apparently–not to be confused with Aqua Morpheus, the lead in the little-known mashup of the Matrix and Waterworld (he took the blue pill). Let it sit there for a while with water in it, and it gets a little funk, like from a newt in a terrarium.
On the mouth, John couldn’t help but think that this was the most drinkable number of the beast whisky he’d ever had (it clocks in at 66.6% abv). It opens with redwood forest that was burnt but then regenerated for five years: at first you get burnt bark, but then fresh wonderfulness begins to overspread the whole picture. It’s green and smoky, but the heat of the abv hides the peat a bit at first. It’s a blend of Orkney single malts, and though St. Ola is a pretty good name, we’d go with other, more obvious (and more litigation-inducing) choices: ScaPark, Hapa, Highland Papa, or maybe best of all: High Papa (that way, the tie-ins with cannabis are ready-made). Add some water, and it actually makes it hotter! Don’t volatilize those esters, folks–things go wild when you add water to this beast.
The finish is lovely and long: it stays on the tongue a long time, and keeps the stomach from knowing fully what’s coming. There’s a mankiness like from wet cinders. I tried a bit of chocolate as I processed the finish, and the finish fought off the chocolate with judo, whipping around to place it into a submission hold.
Not many people would have the balls to bottle a whisky at 66.6%, but in this case, doing so was totally the right call. Truly a singular, crazy dram.
On the scale of ballsy moves–
The St. Ola 8 Year Old Orcadian Blended Malt exclusively from the Whisky Barrel is Lenny Bruce joking about 8 year-olds getting high on airplane glue back in 1959–And this followed his joking about his own being drunk in school as a 9 or 10 year old. In 1959! Probably why he never really made it big as a comedian during his lifetime. But he’s a legend now.
–Our thanks to The Whisky Barrel for the sample!