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 90. My notes state a creamy (almost silky) mouthfeel and a truly complex profile that is Strathisla at its best (lots of currants and other home-grown fruits within a delicious milk chocolate). Very, very typical Strathisla and dangerously quaffable - the bottle was gone within hours...
[December, 2019] I opened another bottle to check if I still like it as it seems to be a love-it-or-hate-it affair (given the chequered rates here at WB)...
...which I can fully comprehend. This dram offers the bold Strathisla profile in an extreme way so it smells and tastes almost like an interesting wine cask maturation (not a finish, a full maturation) despite it is not. All you sniff and taste are the flavours of the malt and these are truly unique, no doubt. I love it!
The colour is deep copper and the nose offers an interesting sour-winey profile with dozens of different fruits in a spicy-minty sauce. Somehow this reminds me of a rum pot (an old tradition of christmas time) with all its different ingredients and flavours. This unique Strathisla profile I can identify among thousands of drams easily - and I like it. But it is love-it-or-hate-it, for sure.
The taste is very powerful (as is the nose) on basically the same flavours and it is greatly chewable. This tastes like a full wine cask maturation but actually it is not, it was just a bourbon hogshead. And again it is the typical Strathisla profile just way bolder than with the standard editions. It turns chocolatey upon chewing which results in an "After Eight" mint-chocolate impression (if you like After Eight you like this dram, most probably - and the other way around). But you have to like these sour-winey flavours too (I do).
The initial mouthfeel is warming and coating with some minor drying moments (cold metals, tannins). The finish is long but adds no new impressions (and no distracting moments either except a minor cardboardy feeling at the very end). Water turns both the nose and taste flatter but it releases some additional impressions - so I advice to try it reduced too (despite I like the neat dram best).