When I reviewed the Ola Dubh 12 by Harviestoun Brewery earlier this year, I loved the beer but had to confess that I found it difficult to deduct exactly how the extra-maturation in Highland Park casks had influenced the ale. So this time I was a bit more foresightful. When I saw the Ola Dubh 18 for sale at Bierland Hamburg, I bought a bottle of Old Engine Oil along with it; the latter being the original brew before its refinement in barrels from the whisky that recently got re-imagined as Viking Pride. Drinking these two beverages back to back helped me to distinguish them from one another more clearly and identify the compelling (red) fruit notes brought forth by the whisky casks. Again, the near-Edinburgh craft brewery with the cute mouse in their logo and the Orkney-based whisky distillery with the Northman soul have created a top-class ale for beer drinkers and drammers alike.
Eye: Deep black.
Nose: Clammy and brisk with lots of dark fruits. Like a handful of brambles picked up from the moist ground after a heavy shower of rain.
Palate: Somewhat bitter, yet delicate and fruity. The flavorsome Highland Park 18 casks have added a mouthwatering sweetness to the Old Engine Oil’s dry and bitter mocca taste.
Finish: Rather light. Instead of dark chocolate and coffee beans, the Ola Dubh 18 ends on black currants and thickened cherries.
Type: Barrel-aged beer
Alc. volume: 8%
Bottle size: 0.33 litres
Price range: ~10.00 Euro
More info: http://www.harviestoun.com (Brewery) ; http://www.highlandpark.co.uk/ (Casks)