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XOP range was introduced in 2014 by Fred Laing, who parted ways with his brother and business partner Stewart the year before, splitting portfolio of Douglas Laing & Co. The abbreviation stands for Xtra Old Particular and indeed, the range consists the best of the best single malt and single grain whiskies from the family vaults. North British Single Grain 53 years old is certainly one of them. The whisky distilled in December 1961 spent over half of a century in ex-sherry butt (DL 10708) and was bottled at natural strength of 51.8% abv in August 2015. The butt produced only 186 bottles. North British Distillery is currently owned by Lothian Distillers, a joint venture between Diageo and The Edrington Group, with each company holding 50% of shares.
Nose: oaky and smoky, nutmeg, pepper, cinnamon, beeswax, bunch of garden herbs, bitter orange marmalade, vanilla custard, almonds and leather.
Palate: rich and oaky, dark chocolate, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, licorice, prunes, roasted almonds, touch of maple-cured ham, tobacco and leather.
Finish: long and relatively fresh, dried dates and prunes, nutmeg, licorice and sherried oak.