The second bottle from the odds and sods beers found in the back of a bar beer library, I’m pulling out another Scottish ale, this time from Harviestoun Brewery. Apparently Harviestoun Ola Dubh Special 18 Reserve Ale, their reserve ale aged in barrels previously retired from Highland Park’s 18 Year Old Single Malt Scotch, is no longer in production, so here’s to a dying breed.
Harviestoun Ola Dubh Special 18 Reserve Ale poured oil-black as it settled, topped with a thin yellow-tan head that had to be forced. Scotch was the first detectable note in the nose without bring too boozy framed by chocolate and a little vanilla.
Harviestoun Ola Dubh Special 18 Reserve Ale opened with a smooth, clean start that managed to be creamy without being thick. Hints of the scotch come through almost immediately, supported by dry chocolate notes. The long fade dried up the mouth-feel and brought some vanilla and almond from the oak to the forefront.
Harviestoun Ola Dubh Special 18 Reserve Ale is the first whiskey-barrel aged beer I’ve tasted where the whiskey was an integral part of the profile as opposed to overwhelming it or coming off as watered down hard alcohol. Either I have been lucky with my last couple Scottish ales, or I need to bump this country to the top of my vacation list!