Complex, touches of brilliance, but also moody and elusive! Just be prepared to give it a good hour to express itself fully.
Two bottles bought from Cadenheads in Campbeltown on Ralfy’s (and the shop staff’s) recommendations in August 2019. One bottle opened Christmas 2020 - and now half way down and 3 months in.
Nose: nippy, astringency which is biting (similar sensation on the nose to mild ammonia). This I think is coming from the barrel because it’s bound to a damp wood/ cellar floor earthiness - not unusual in whiskies of this age. Behind this however, is bags of character and complexity. Boiled sweets, tropical fruits, melons and mirabels - with a rich oiliness holding it together, classic oak spices, some vanilla and dryer bitter herbs - and all very playful and dynamic. Waxy, but distinctly linseed note, also some lovely almost sherried and nutty notes. Just when you think you’ve nailed the nose out pops another note; pears, or sweet apple, toffee, marmalade and a puff of icing sugar... Be prepared to pick your way over/ or through the astringent notes which do reassert themselves regularly.
Taste: balanced, initially a sweet flourish, toffee notes balanced with crisp acidity from the fruits then moving to some chilli heat, and becoming dryer and mildly bitter.
Finish: Neat without water the finish is a little short - the action is perhaps up front in the nose and mouth. However, pop outside or take a brief respite and you’ll taste whisky all the way to the John and back and it finishes back on fudgey sherried whiskiness!
Water- about 4-5ml per 25ml does help the whisky articulate itself, but you loose a touch of the mouthfeel/richness too.