Nose: The wine dominates on first blush, but it's not necessarily a bad thing. Big wood spice, varnish. I know from the bottle information that it's a Tuscan red wine finish, but if you had just told me it's sort of a typical, contemporary sherry seasoning, I wouldn't have called you a liar. Pretty typical for that. Water mutes the spice a bit and brings out more menthol notes.
Mouth: As expected, you feel the wood on the palette right off. There's not a ton of heat, but it's pretty drying. When consumed neat, it suffers in comparison to the nose. With water here, it's a bit better, but still nothing exceptional. The mouthfeel is a little thin.
Comments: I bought this at the distillery in May of 2015 and only opened it the other day. It's very different than my other main experience with Aberfeldy, the re-launched 21 yo from about five years ago. I guess the one similarity is both are fairly meek on the palette.
This was such an interesting one for me to taste and attempt an evaluation given how polarizing my two reference points are. I purchased this when I was much less-experienced as a whisky drinker and purchaser. Like many, one of my early guides was Jim Murray. As other commentators have pointed out, this is a high scorer in his Whisky Bible. So there's that. But I've since largely abandoned consulting him and haven't purchased a new edition of his book in a few years. The Whiskybase scores seem to reflect that many others disagree with Murray.
I think Whiskybase gets it right here. Really not sure how Murray got this was some sort of spectacular bottling. The nose is good enough to keep this in the 80s solidly, but that's about it.