...and it is a strange beast! I never had such a liquoriced nose and thick, chewy taste on a whisky so far, as if I drink liquid liquorice. It is not bad at all but it is very special, indeed. A dram for all who love to explore new sensual impressions but beware - it is a love-or-hate-affair, for sure. I love it for curiosity but I will not ask for a second dram...
The colour is very dark (for such a young dram) at tawny so this must have been a very active cask - which is proven by a very intense nose, too. This nose is completely different to all whiskies I had so far (by the way, several thousands of drams) with an extreme liquorice spike followed by sweet winey aromas and spicy woods. I am not sure if I can catch some specific Belgrove aromas because I do not know this distillery profile (yet). But even if I did these aromas are all buried under the heavy cask influence (both wine and wood). An interesting nose, for sure - but somehow I am devided if I like it or not. For curiosity I do, for enjoyment I do not (it is way too spiked and misses the whisky notes, finally).
The taste is spiked too, with strong liquorice-menthol-herbal flavours dominating. It seems the cask was coopered from rather unusual wood (maybe eucalyptus tree, does this work with maturating whisky? No, just kidding...). It reminds me a little of Japanese oak (Mizunara). After some chewing the sweet winey flavours appear and balance out the strange herbal-menthol spike, luckily. It is quite quaffable provided you are open for some unusual tasting experiences (I am, that is why I am into whisky). The texture of this dram is very thick and chewy, almost like an old port wine (I like that).
The dram arrives very hot and peppery on the palate with a fine creamy coating effect and some drying-astringent moments (the tannins of the aggressive cask grab my taste buds instantly). The finish is medium to long and turns the sweeter the longer it is gone. No drying-astringent impressions this time, it seems the tannins gave up and retreated due to the overwhelming power of the sweet wine. Water releases some rye whiskey aromas in the nose, finally and turns it more herbal-menthol (and less liquorice). The reduced taste is much smoother and more approachable - this certainly is a dram which should be explored neat but then reduced to about 45% for a better drinking pleasure.