Nose: A bit nippy, no surprise considering the proof. Dark Oloroso sherry, a bit towards the earthy side. Fairly sulfurous. Raisins, prunes, dark-chocolate-covered strawberries, and chocolate chip banana bread. Some rum balls and panettone. Those chocolatey notes tend towards earthy, more tobacco than peat. Plenty of cloves, manuka honey, and some dried chilis.
A good dribble of water kills the nip and amps up the honey. There’s more stonefruit now (peaches and cherries), along with Swedish Berries and bananas. Hey, now there’s a bit of peat and black pepper too.
Palate: Needs water desperately. Bright, fruity, and honeyed on the arrival, with wine gums and ripe strawberries. Chocolatey peat, tobacco, creamy black tea, coffee, cloves, and vanilla on the development, surrounded on both sides by honey and Oloroso. Astringent and slightly lemon-tart on the back end.
There’s now a medium-thick texture. Honey up to 11. There’s more tobacco and black pepper as well. The development seems a bit simplified though.
Finish: Creamy. Honeyed lemon tea. Pain au chocolat. Various fruit chutneys. Green apples with honey and cinnamon on the back.
Water brings out more of the cane sugar cola, citrus, and floral notes, as well as some peat smoke and sulfur. Maybe a bit of dried oregano.