HARVIESTOUN OLA DUBH 12
My Fellow Inebriates,
It’s a million degrees. If ever there was a good time for a lingering soul to depart a furball like Fluffy, this is it. He’s panting with the heat. If it gets much hotter, he might end up dead, and then where will Granny be?
The weekend didn’t feel quite as hot, and I think I know why. The icy refreshment of our Gin Shoot-Out lowered everyone’s temperature, and once we were half-drunk, we stopped worrying about things like Fluffy surviving his first summer in Langley. But after we’d declared GORDON’S the winner of the gin showdown, we decided to take a break from gin and try something from Christine’s canvas bag.
If you recall Christine’s last visit, she brought HARVIESTOUN OLA DUBH 18, a cask-aged ale that had us reeling with bliss. For comparison, this time she brought OLA DUBH 12.
Now you may be wondering, at this point, how we can mooch off Christine so dreadfully. And the answer is, I really have no idea. My parents are socially retarded. But we were all grateful, and poured the OLA DUBH 12 three ways into Reidel stemless glasses, because they happened to be clean.
Like OLA DUBH 18, OLA DUBH 12 is visually striking for its black opacity and creamy beige head. Maturation in Highland Park 12 casks should, we expected, impart almost as much nuance as maturation in Highland Park 18 casks. So it was a bit of a shock to be bowled over by one predominant aroma: molasses. No word of a lie, it was like taking a whiff of a carton of straight molasses. And sure, molasses is nice—the food-eaters at LBHQ tell me it’s great in gingerbread—but it was so dominant in OLA DUBH 12 that it was hard to pick out any other background olfactory chords.
Once we started sipping we could pick up espresso, cocoa, and perhaps some peat. But the strongest note on the tongue was molasses. It was so overwhelming as to be out of whack, if you ask me. As for the mouthfeel, it fell a little short, especially given Harviestoun’s own descriptor, “viscous and gloopy.” Instead it was light- to medium-bodied—certainly too light to stand up to the molasses—and not as creamy as expected.
According to Christine’s sources, the sweet spot for OlA DUBH is 16 years, so that’s next on our list. The 18-year vastly outshone the 12-year, so we’ll see what a Highland Park 16 cask does for this viscous and gloopy beer. We’ll see…
In the meantime I’ll check to make sure Fluffy’s not dead.