...and it was worth to include this dram into the challenge. It is a subtle modern style sherried dram with no "I punch that flavours in ya face" attitude like so many other modern "designed" releases. A honest whisky, but too expensive in my opinion - as a drinker I am willing to pay around 100 Euro for a bottle of that quality (taking the 105 proof into consideration already, so 75 Euro for a standard proof one)...
[June, 2019] I re-tasted this dram tonight and it seems it improved due to oxydation in an almost empty bottle. The nose is much more impressive (I score it 89 points tonight) and both taste and finish are very quaffable. Tonight I like it best when reduced to about 45% abv (just stop when the dram turns cloudy) because an additional delicious chocolatey note is released at this strength.
The colour is tawny and the nose is rather shy which is no surprise at 105 proof (60% abv). After some breathing it offers a fine modern sherry profile without any whiff of sulphur - thank you for that, George! And by the way: It would be very respectful to your customers if you could mark your sulphurous releases with an appropriate statement on the label (as is done with peated stuff from usually unpeated distilleries). After a reduction with a fair share of water the nose opens up but still it is not a very bold impression. It stays rather shy with a fine subtleness.
The taste is nicely layered on a balanced combo of sherry-induced and malt-driven flavours with some delicious chocolatey notes. I find all the usual suspects for such a profile like raisins, plums, figs, nuts, orange peel, herbs, spices (nutmeg and more) and and and... No flaw that I can detect and all in perfect harmony. Some water releases significant more flavours and turns both the mouthfeel and finish smoother, hence easier to drink (surely, when starting with 60% abv). I like it both neat and reduced to about 48% abv.
The neat dram arrives (as expected) hot and peppery in the mouth but it instantly coats it with a warming feeling and no distracting moments. A nice mouthfeel for an overproof dram! The finish is of medium length and vanishes more on the spicy side what is delicious (peppers, chilis, a hint of salt). No drying or astringent moments, the woods are just about right in here.