This is uncomfortably close to new-make for me. The nose isn’t bad, but the palate and finish are way too raw and harsh for my taste. Water helped a lot, but didn’t do enough for it to make me want to reach for this over most things.
Nose: To nobody’s surprise, there’s a lot of ethanol here. It’s surprisingly creamy, actually. Vanilla, caramel popcorn, barley, and butter- and maple-syrup-topped pancakes. Mandarin orange and pickled jalapenos. Some light wood and black pepper. It’s actually reminding me of the tequila-filled chocolate I had earlier today.
Palate: Medium-weight, oily texture. Not so much heat, surprisingly. Extremely raw. New make spirit, grain sweetness, green wood, banana, and pineapple. A bit of a bitter plastic note on the back.
Okay, water helps. Things round off quite a lot, the bitterness dissipates, and a lovely orange oil sweetness takes over. There’s much richer fruit and vanilla.
Finish: Light. Lemon, white sugar, black pepper, road salt, a touch of oak, white grapes. The cheapest powdered sugar donuts in existence.