Nose: Now, I'm not tasting this blind, but we're pretty clearly dealing with a solid example of this particular style, i.e., the late-80s/early-90s, fruit-led Irish malts. Having said that, this one is about the latest vintage I've seen that's clearly still a part of this glut of casks with the indies. And it shows a bit. While I'm definitely finding a very solid note of fresh fruit, it's not quite so over-the-top as I find it can be in more "typical" bottles. For instance, I've got a '90 vintage that TWA did for TWE, so we don't even have to worry about bottler variation, and it's an unadulterated fruit bomb. This guy, instead, balances that with a very pleasant minerality: think wet rocks, especially, but a very mild saltiness comes on, as well. The fruit is the pretty-standard, but still good, combination of apples and peaches. With a bit more time to develop, some light honey'd notes start emerging, as well. Clean and lovely. Water seems to tamp down the fruit a bit and bring out the barley, which takes this more towards mid-90s Imperial territory--still quite good.
Taste: Very solid arrival. The strength seems like it's perfect as-is, but I'll try some water in a bit. There's no heat and the mouthfeel is appropriately coating but not viscous (which wouldn't quite work as well with this style). It's a continuation of the nose in some ways: balanced fruitiness. There's no acetone edge like I get in the '90 TWA for TWE where the fruit was left entirely unchecked. Unlike the nose, the honey is immediately apparent on the palate. Luckily, none of this is overly sweet as the oak gives it a bit of a bitter and drying edge (water strips some of that away). The good balance continues.
Finish: As mentioned, there is some oak here, which isn't unexpected given it's an old-middle-age malt. Nothing out of order, though. However, I'd say it's not shining here in the same way. Water does help a bit.
Comments: While it's really not the same kind of thing, I liken this Irish more to the '70s undisclosed Speysiders, which manage to pull of the heavy fresh fruit profile in a stunning way without going over-the-top. This is a notch above the other exemplar of this crop of Irish malts I've sampled as a consequence. While I think I enjoyed this more than @jjkmiss did, I want to echo the sentiment in his review that I'm clearly missing something in the reviews of many of these whiskies, because this barley gets to 90 for me. I have a hard time imagining the fruitier, less-balanced cousins reaching scores like 92 and above. Oh well, different strokes, I suppose.
As a brief postscript, this was one of the early TWA labels that featured this retro style, and I love it. They're a lot of fun. Leave it to the Germans.