This whisky seems to be a total chameleon; just about every review seems to say something completely different. I expected the second maturation in heavily charred oak to make this a more oak-forward expression but that wasn't really my experience.
- Nose (undiluted): the typical Lot 40 dark caramel and spices (black pepper, cardamom, and cinnamon) appear first, but there's much more fruit here to my palate; apricots, peaches, maybe some cherries. There's some herby notes coming through as well, but I can't really identify them. Mint perhaps.
- Palate: medium bodied, vanilla, caramel, rye spice, more apricots, MacIntosh apples, over-steeped black tea.
- Finish: medium length, apples, cinnamon, cloves, some barrel char present, but it didn't jump out to me the way it did to others.
This is a funny one to score. Do I like it more than the standard Lot 40? I think I do... BUT I'm a bit less generous with my marks now than I was when I reviewed the standard Lot 40 a few years ago. Experience will do that, I suppose. Will I buy another bottle of Dark Oak? I'm unsure. I appreciate the fruitier flavours and the higher abv, but given that the standard usually sells for about $20 or so less, I can't guarantee I'll re-purchase Dark Oak. I can't rule it out either. Curious indeed.