Nose: this one has a weird fragrant side to it. Rosehip syrup with hints of potpourri. Raisins and plums. Then moist wood and very yeasty notes, as well as szechuan pepper and cinnamon.
Mouth: quite soft (unsurprisingly), with a similar mix of yeasty porridge, woody notes and synthetic fruitiness. Dried mango and orange. Muesli with honey. Wildflowers, bitter herbs, wet cardboard and hints of glue. A weird development and quite sharp (pepper, allspice).
Finish: not too long, with a gingery sharpness and a perfumed edge.
This reminds me of the first experiments with wood finishing in the 1990s. You know, the early days of wine casks and Port casks that were quite novel back then and couldn’t find a balance right away. Artificially aromatic and not integrated with the spirit. I think the regular 12 is much better without the make-up, and the new ex-bourbon 16 and 23 travel retail expressions will probably be more natural as well.