Nose: A wave of wood and spice. Old musty oak, cedar, and pine. The wood notes are crisp, clean, dry, and spicy. There’s also a grassy note in here. I’m momentarily reminded of a well aged rye. Next comes fruit. Apples, pears, citrus rind, and dried mango. Sherry, sweet caramel, vanilla, cinnamon, rosemary, and floral notes seem to pop up and then disappear at different intervals. This is a fresh and dynamic nose, and I detect something different with every whiff.
Palate: Medium bodied. Sherry notes seem to come on first, with the usual sultanas and dried red fruits. Chocolate, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and an assortment of other baking spices.
Finish: More gentle spices. More cinnamon, nutmeg, and sultanas. This is followed by a particularly interesting mocha note that I wish lasted longer. The finish is short but pleasant, and is characterized mainly by an integration of spice, sultanas, and oak.
Thoughts: This has an enjoyable youngness to it, and it does live up to the name Fine Oak. The wood notes are highlights. The 12 year old ‘livets and ‘fiddichs of the world could learn a thing or two from this. However, while this has a really nice nose for a 12 year old at 40%, the palate and finish don’t live up. What starts off promising ultimately becomes pleasant, but average. But the rich nose, oaky spiciness, and nice sherry notes make it worth your while.