One of the "5 Sisters" along with the Green Welly Stop and Abbey Whisky exclusives. Nose and palate: very similar so Ill describe together.First taste upon opening: strong impression of dark honey
Later taste: The sweetness has faded to low-medium level. Balanced. A rivulet of oak sap and an amber line of honey stroll together down a tree trunk, each briefly outcrawling the other. English breakfast tea brewed strong. Integrated solvent, the glue on the back of envelopes. A late hum of fruitiness that is good. Intermittent and fleeting notes of elegance, tartness, dunnage warehouse. Faint ocean salt water hangs in the air but cant quite be tasted.Complexity: low - moderate. The transitions between flavors are subtle.Color: medium chestnut.Viscosity: towards the viscous side.Not: Not highly bright, not richly fruity, not oversweet, overly tannic, , smoky, bitter, sulfured, leathery, watery, or medicinal.
Finish - a shorter to medium length buzz of oak, sometimes a fruitier note, an occasional late faint waft of a savory-salty kettle-corn note like a ben nevis or old pulteney 17.
Overall impression : In a word, balanced. A bit muted for now, but if the fruitiness increases even slightly with oxidation I may end up liking it a lot. A more concentrated 1st cousin of 18 yo Allardice with a strong resemblance. A second cousin of vintage 1992 Mace Windu. Less intensely fruity and rich than 653, but also minus the bitter note I get at the finish with 653, which to me makes 656 preferable.
Score: 88.5. I expect to raise this a point or more as it improves with time.