Now that I've read the Wikipedia page on Sauternes, I feel pretty confident in saying this is "Sauternes Forward".
Not in the nose though, at least initially, before it had a chance to open up. A bit coy, but worthwhile when given time.
The palate showed off the Sauternes barrel aging to good affect. It really had a golden, desert wine and almost cognac accent, plump with semi-dried raisins - a perfect segue into rich fattiness and orange, before an extended trail of aromatics, spice and bitters, saw out the home strait.
If I'd had to guess, I would have put the ABV at 46-48. Very nicely tempered.
I'd heard good things about both the St. George's Distillery and NSS bottlings and I'm glad to have that impression reinforced.
Quite closed. Letting it warm, helped a lot. Still quite soft, but now allowing more distinct impressions of milk chocolate covered cherries and Golden sultanas to escape. Slightly darker and more stewed, there's Damson jam/gin. It has a dusty, woody quality, to it. Like a dry attic used to store books. Think: pine sap minus the terps.
Inhaling through my mouth as I sip, it is sweet and juicy, with not-quite fully-dried sultanas. And all of a sudden, a bit Christmassy with orange zest and cloves and buttery cognac fruit pudding. Medium, but satisfying velvety mouthfeel. New suede.
The Pine phenols are hiding here, adding astringency and a little coolness, nicely offset by warmth from fresh ginger and allspice, finally topped with a dusting of grated, bittersweet cocoa.