N: Rather like the ’83 and rather Speysidey too, its a savoury<sweet one, with lemons and grasses as the main players [so far], a touch chalky and grainy with some tart but ripe apples, caramel, a soapy note and a light fustiness accompanying the soft but far reaching gentle oak. As it opens up Its hugely floral [like a tropical shampoo] and equally fruity with a combo of aromatic dried fruits and flowers. Theres also bubblegum, peach lip balm, Curly-Wurly, vanilla, mango=papaya, pineapples, macadamia nuts and buttered and toasted tea cakes. More fruits emerge over time with pink wafers and rock cakes with dried lime pieces with an assured oak maturity under-pinning the entire presentation. Incredibly the spirit is still full of life, although its what ive come to expect from this exceptional distillery.
T: A chalky, citrusy and spirity start, quickly turning mildly soapy [as on the nose] & peppery with a sour, grassy and lemon development and [bourbon] oak steering the balance against the grain. The development starts on malty [garibaldi biscuits] and fruity grain along with a heap of sour>sweet chalky lemons. Theres no mistaking the relatively peppery and lively spirit but thankfully its wrapped in all those years of gentle, dryish oak - creating a feisty, yet assured bitter=sour cocktail.
F: The finish comes in three parts. It lingers a fair while with lemon grain, mild malty-milk [fruit & nut] chocolate and fusty oak [sour and peppery] with vanilla with a touch of toffee. Part two brings sour lemon~malt and dry grasses with a waxy mouthfeel and a wave of milk chocolate before a part 3 - a grainy and vegetal [corn on the cob] witch-hazel close, but there are waves of mild/sweet milk chocolate that come in and out, so be in no rush for the next dram and you’ll be rewarded with a chocolatey/waxy mouthfeel reprise. Its fairly true to form from start to finish with the wood playing a pivotal part throughout. Long, long finish
C: The beauty of a full bottle is you can judge it over time. A few months ago id initially had this down as a B- score wise, disappointed by the astringent palate. It has however taken me a while to explore that nose and many months to discover that truly remarkable finish. As a result it scores a deserved B. This certainly isnt immediately a wow dram but one that emerges with a special and honest story of a good spirit, well aged in decent casks . Equally challenging and engaging and full of life - with an accomplished nose surpassed by a truly excellent finish. Well worth hunting this one out at auction: [wsky-onlineauctions Nov ’14 £118]
Scores a B Further reading: WF86 WM86