The first aromas from the glass are strong and fruity. They are ripe, juicy fruits, not green fruits, as is so often the case in bottlings that are too young. These are fully ripe, juicy apples, peaches and apricots. And then comes the vanilla, freshly scraped from the pod and sprinkled over a strong, tart chocolate mousse. The wood is present but is part of the chocolate notes and comes without bitterness and mustiness. A nice, mature aroma.
The taste of this whisky has a nice creamy note, it is sweet and fruity. It's not a fake sugary sweetness, it's not a sweetener, but rather the mouthfeel of a sweetness contrasted with tart notes and a pleasant dryness. This shows that the age of a whisky is by no means irrelevant - age maters and has led to a harmonization of the aromas without weakening them or grinding them round.
The wood with creamy chocolate lingers in the mouth, develops a dryness that is neither bitter nor strongly astringent.
This is a nice hogshead whisky with good age. Nice to have a sample of this whisky that shows what a well-aged whisky from a hogshead can unfold in terms of complexity and beautiful aromas without being ironed down by an attached finish. This is a worthy bottling in the Cask Strength Collection. How nice it would be to be able to get such whiskys at a halfway realistic price in the future. This one, at least, is no longer available at such a price (no idea what it originally cost...).