Pretty nice, maybe not quite my cup of tea. The funk is dialed down, which I appreciate. There’s really nice complexity with those more savoury and spicy notes, but it’s balanced fairly well by (minimal) sweetness. It reminds me a little bit of those unpeated Caol Ilas in that sense. Overall, it’s maybe a bit on the dry and tart side for my tastes. This is definitely not one to just idly sip.
Nose: Heavy and musty. Lots of rich barley and toffee, along with warm, dusty earth notes. Nutty and a bit savoury: nori, toasted nuts and seeds. The ‘pumpkinseed oil’ label on this sample bottle seems spot on actually, not that I’ve ever tried pumpkinseed oil. Lemon oil, tangerine, cantaloupe, roasted apples. Something slightly tart, maybe green olives.
Palate: Medium-thick texture. Spicy honey, green apples, green olives, and peaches up front, followed by toasted almonds, burnt sugar, and browned butter. It gets earthy and spicier in the middle, in the middle, with dry dusty dunnage warehouse, crushed rocks, white pepper, coriander (seeds), cloves, and dry wood. Balsamic vinegar (the cheap kind, not the aged kind), honey, malted barley, mint, and fennel on the back.
A small dribble of water evens things out a touch, and bumps up the sweetness.
Finish: Medium-length and tart. Balsamic vinegar and honey. Green apple, peaches, lemon, banana, cinnamon, and cloves. Light oak, malted barley, strong black tea, and earth.