Dark sweet and richly sherried. Masses of toffee, butterscotch and treacle come together with stewed berries (particularly raspberries), plums and damsons for a darkly sweet opening. Deeper aromas of leather, hazelnuts and chocolates provide ample support. There’s some underlying meatiness and vegetation here – herbed sausages with fresh golden tobaccos. The addition of water brings out the sherry influence much more overtly, adding cake and raisins, as well as revealing some natural earthiness – moist soils and forest leaves.
Full, viscous and oily on arrival, this is nowhere near as sweet as the nose would suggest. A wave of sour lemons and wood combine with bitter berries and spices (ginger, anise and pepper). Over reduced cinder toffee, burnt caramel and dark chocolate are joined by balsamic vinegar, leather and nuttiness. There’s some struck match here, not a lot, but perceptible. A dash of water greatly improves this whisky, reducing the bitterness and allowing meat and vegetation to shine once again – beef stock and greenhouse produce – tomatoes and asparagus.
Long, quite drying and packed full of bitter fruit and dusty spices. Water transforms the finish, reducing it in length slightly, but smoothing over much of the astringency.