...and actually, it is not mostly because the nose is somewhat imbalanced with way too many wooden notes which kill the more subtle malt aromas completely. But the taste and finish is excellent, so skip nosing and enjoy this dram right away. By the way, the neat dram is very powerful (I like it this way) but if it is too strong add a big splash of water to reduce it to 43% abv or even lower as any intermediate reduction does not really work. At 43% it turns very quaffable (unfortunately, the nose does not improve on reduction).
The colour is very dark at burnt umber and the nose offers an impressive old sherry profile with significant wooden notes. Both the sherry and the wood have almost killed the malt, after some breathing it seems as if some shy malt flavours have survived but this could be a fata morgana too. Surely, this dram requires quite some time to fully enfold (like many sherry monsters) but it is not on eye-level with the fantastic 21-year old (Moon car series). Sherry heads will love this, no doubt but I miss my beloved malt impressions with this nose.
The taste is much better balanced with still some surviving malt flavours in an adorable old-style sherry setting. The woods are not as powerful as I feared from the nose, actually they are just about right to counter the enormous sweetness of both the malt and wine. The sherry profile itself is excellent with all the delicious (old) wine-induced flavours present which combine with the malt to excellent impressions of dark chocolate over time. The raisins and figs are superior in this mix, and the herbs and spices of the wood add to a complex profile. Hey, I like that much better than the nose! This is extremely quaffable (and chewable).
The initial mouthfeel is massive on strong alcohols with significant borderline tannins. Luckily, it never gets unpleasant and after some sips my taste buds adapted to this powerful arrival. The finish is long and adds more bitter herbal-tobacco impressions while the sweet flavours retreat somewhat. This is not a bad thing as the taste was very sweet and this modest bitterness is very welcome to balance the overall impression. Actually, I like this bitter-sweet interplay of taste and finish because it makes the dram much more interesting as if the profile stays the same all the time. A little water does not change a lot and a bigger splash turns both nose and taste even more punchier (hence less attractive). Even a further reduction does not really improve the nose (just a little bit, not worth to bother with) but the taste gets much more approachable now (nonetheless less interesting). I strongly suggest to explore this dram neat first and once this is done it could be reduced to about 43% abv for easy quaffing. Personally, I prefer the neat dram and skip the nosing.