Being a sucker to try anything extreme the ABV of 67,6%, as far as I can find the highest ever in the Signatory CS series, I was convinced I had to have a bottle.
Holding this level of ABV after 11years and with an almost mahogany color it must have been a unique cask.
I am sure many will think I over rate this bottle purely on account of the extreme. Rest assured I rate it by how much I enjoy it, and that's what we're supposed to do.
Pretty straight forward sherry cask nose.
Fair amount of wood, but a very gentle and pleasant kind, not that usual fresh raw sherry monster wood, it's more refind, rather posh.
Raisins, chocolate and caramel.
Strawberry flavoured bubble gum?
The high alc strength is not disturbing, but I feel it might be masking any finer nuances.
Then again, it's only 11 years old and have hardly been breathing, there might not be much more.
I added quite a bit of water but it doesn't seem to be changing much at first. It needs time as the alc is slowly receiding from the glas.
I might still be dazzled by the neat approach, but I'm getting cream brulee with strawberries and a mint leaf on top.
The nose is about the only part I find more enjoyable with water.
Feels like diving in at the cask strenght deep end before a first neat sip.
It's spicy alright, but manageable if you're prepaired for it.
Almost oily arrival, but as it's rolled around and the spice is building up it gets more and more dry.
Yet fabulously tasty, actually damn good.
Sweet, dark chocolate, moist fruitcake, cinnamon and ginger. This is a spice and flavour party.
One advice; you can safely wait a while before inhaling, and then slowly.
Water brings everything down to a more pallateble level.
Still very tasty, but I feel that the "action and excitement" somehow diminishes.
The spice is watered out, the close to extreme warmth is cooled down, the change from oily to mouth puckering dry is gone.
I don't feel that water adds anything apart from being more "accessible" bringing it down to an average good sherry whisky.
I think this is something I will enjoy neat, one dram at a time when I need a jump start.
Neat the warmth can compete in lenght with sucking on a freshly lit Zippo pocket warmer. The taste is also sticking around for an extended amount of time, and as the alc evaporates from the inside of your cheeks a lot of the sweet flavours reemerges.
With water it still has a long and very tasty finish.
If this had been watered down to 46-50% before bottling I would still have been very pleased.
But having tried it at full trottle I know I would miss the crazy tail wagging of this top fuel dragster making a burn out in my mouth.
If you can't stand the heat stay out of the kitchen ;-)