...and this batch can not, unfortunately. Like so often the first batch was the best (see Lagavulin 8-years old or Kilkerran 12-years old to name two others) because they carefully selected the best casks to establish a good reputation on the market. Later they (have to?) use what is left or they simply do not care as much about cask selection - that is why I always buy a small stock of the first batch if I really like a dram...
The colour is russetmuscat again (what else, thanks to the caramel added) and the nose offers the modern sherry profile of the first batch - but with significant bitter-drying wooden aromas this time which drive the profile out of balance, unfortunately. This is average quality, at best...
The taste is better on this fine mix of sherry and malty flavours - but after some chewing the wood is back on the scene and turns the whole set bitter-drying (again out of balance). But good news: No sulphur to detect, compliment for this achievement to whoever selected the casks! Water reduces the bitter flavours somewhat and I like this dram best when reduced to about 35% abv (but it is not whisky any longer, according to Scottish law).
The initial mouthfeel still is creamy but much lesser coating than the first batch and with an unpleasant bitter-astringent touch (tannins at work). The finish is way shorter (medium length) than the first batch and stays on the bitter-drying woody side without adding new impressions.