In the words of the immortal Lord Flashheart “Ah Nursie, I like it firm and fruity. Am I pleased to see you or did I just put a canoe in my pocket?”
Never heard of this bottler and from the label there’s no information about the origin of the whisky within except ‘Speyside’ as a designation, 8 years old as an age, and that it had spent its short life in an ex sherry cask. A little digging about around the internet and it can be confirmed as a Balvenie, which is rather wonderful in itself.
On the nose I’m instantly reminded of the bombastic sherry monster that is Aberlour’s A'bunadh. At the quite possibly perfect strength of 48.2% I’m inhaling great waves of old sherry, wood, chocolate, dark marmalade, molasses, cocoa powder. There’s dark maritime varnish, figs, malted brown bread, balsamic reduction, bags of raisins and baking spices. There’s also a nice leathery warmth. Unlike the A’bunadh though, not a hint of sulphur, this is a clean as a whistle. Maybe I could accuse it of being a little one dimensional but that’s like accusing Picasso of being a bit Cubist.
In the mouth is more of the same but the arrival is quite choppy and forceful. In the first second or so it’s all sherry sweetness then it explodes with oak and spice and ginger and peppery heat. It’s not unpleasant in any way, it’s like a youthful explosion. Instead of the sherry dominating and stealing the show it has to play second fiddle to a swirling mass of spice and heat and oak cocoa powder. Back on the nose after a few sips and it’s really one solid, unified dram. Back in the mouth and the finish is lovely and rich without being cloying, the lovely woody dryness which comes in halfway though makes if feel far more grown up than it’s measly 8 years would suggest it could be. No bitterness, no bum notes. Rich, earthy tobacco. Lovely stuff. It’s reminding me of Macallan edition no.4. It begs the question though, how good would this have been with another 8 years in this cask?
Perhaps the person who put the liquid in this cask was a Blackadder fan, I think I can almost hear them saying “I have a cunning plan...” looks like it worked!