...and yes, this is easy drinkable stuff for christmas. It owns a slightly bitter-astringent finish (from the woods) which modern style drinkers might rather enjoy (to me it is a little distracting). You still find such stuff for small bucks at auctions so go for it if you do not own the deep pockets for the new (often) over-priced releases.
[February, 2015] Together with friends I emptied bottle no. 867 that I bought for 67,50 Euro in November, 2014.
In my old rating system (ten scales that translate into WB points: 50 - 66 - 75 - 80 - 82,5 - 85 - 87,5 - 90 - 92,5 - 95) I scored it 87,5. I took no notes.
The colour is old gold and the nose offers a shy modern sherry profile with all malty, sherry and wooden aromas in balance. It is not very complex but delicious to sniff and indeed, there are some aromas that remind me of christmas time (raisins, oranges, marzipan, a whiff of cinnamon and many other spices). After some breathing waxy and oily impressions join in.
The taste is a mix of sweet malty (barley sugars, fresh fruits) and sour winey (sherry, dried fruits) flavours in a firm wooden framework (spices, some bitter notes). It is not layered but very quaffable without any flaw. After some chewing flavours of (different) dark chocolates pops up and the spices grow stronger what I like.
The initial mouthfeel is warming but not really coating with some minor drying moments (tannins). The finish is of medium length and turns more to the bitter-wooden side (herbs, tannins) which is a little too much (for my taste buds). The woods add an astringent mouthfeel too. Water is not needed, it just flattens the dram.