This is seriously great. I’m strongly reminded of the excellent Caol Ila 18 Unpeated, which has many of these same savoury, salty, and barley-forward notes. This whisky has all those, but trades the lighter citrus of the Caol Ila for those Ardmore-y medicinal notes, as well as the subtle but tasty sherry cask influence. I’m not always so keen about the really heavily medicinal Ardmores, but here it’s nicely balanced. Great stuff.
Nose: Rich, in a ‘3-course-meal’ kind of way. Plenty of rich, earthy barley notes. Fragrant sherry notes of orange oil, dried apple slices, clove, roasted nuts, and cola. Smoked ham, bacon, deep-fried shrimp, and rocky beaches. Some slightly tart earthy notes of punky wood and peat bog. Some sweet milk chocolate and honeycomb underneath. Almost a sort of sweet icewine note. Distant wood smoke.
Palate: Thick, silky texture. Rich barley up front, with ginger syrup, burnt cane sugar, and freshly-fired clay, cooked apples. Medicinal in the middle, iodine, camphor, and bandages, along with nutty roasted barley, more bacon, tobacco smoke, and maple-glazed ham. Some more fruit appears: navel oranges, red apples, cherries, and prunes. Chewy caramels, baking spices, and dried herbs. Dry driftwood and seaweed.
Finish: Thick. Rich barley, caramel, ginger, candied lemon peel, almond oil (label checks out!), and sea breeze. Fragrant birch bark and gingerbread.