I bought this because it was a particularly strange item: One of the most pedestrian distillates, aged to absurdity, and with a fair community score. What I got was much as I expected, an uncommonly dry sherry bomb. As many others before me, I'd like to know what was in the cask previously since it says it's a refill.
Tasted with Elements of Islay Br7 (88 pts.) and Glendronach 25yo cask 1375 (91).
Pure old tannins on the first whiff, then after a moment, orange peels, chocolate, and sherry. Elegant is the word. An old leather sofa, and some sugar, like smelling a neapolitan wafer from afar. There are some armagnac-like distilled wine notes, and fresh herbs (mint, mimosa). The nose is king here.
A bit sharp but manageable neat. The body is glorious despite that, like somebody aged the best old armagnac they could find in a leather saddlebag. The sherry's very tannic and dry, like a bunch of furniture rescued after being in the Sahara for a decade. With water I find some rosin, and a slightly better body. I really like what's going on here, even though the distillate (that water finally reveals) is decidedly meh.
The cask strikes back: A black hole of tannins. Bone dry, and mining your tissues for the last bit of water to suck into its mass and crush into infinite density. You don't so much taste as just feel the finish. It's a bit too much for me, although this thing is just extreme, and has not become just pure wood juice like for example Elijah Craig 23. Still, a point or two less here than on the nose and tongue. I'm distantly reminded of the first time I drank yage where the harmaline source was mimosa hostilis. If you've ever tried drinking anything made of mimosa bark, you know what I'm talking about.