...that is absolutely adorable! A perfect old-style sherry maturation with the perfect grade of wooden notes and not a single flaw. Both very interesting to explore and dangerously quaffable (provided you like such sherry monster bombs - I do!).
By the way, I bought this bottle for 120 Euro in June, 2003 (yes, there was a time when such bottlings were both excellent and affordable - today you have to choose, unfortunately)...
The colour is almost black at brown sherry and the nose offers an adorable old-style sherry profile with appropriate but certainly not too heavy wooden notes and not a single off-note at all. The sherry is of the finest kind with all the aromas you dream of such a maturation and some nice OBFs that I really like. There is not much Strathmill left in this combo but to be honest: Who needs the Strathmill grassy profile if you got such beautiful sherry-induced aromas. The spicy wood keeps the nose balanced and interesting - I could sniff this for hours...
The taste is truly multi-layered on a back-and-forth of sherry-induced and wood-driven flavours in a spectacular sequence. Even the malt shines through sometimes with molten barley sugars and autumn floral notes (wet haystacks). Wow, what a great movie on my palate! This is pure pleasure both intellectual and emotional. Some water releases more delicious aromas in the nose (good for two points) and turns the taste smoother and more chocolatey (very tasty). Even a further reduction keeps this dram interesting but I like it best just a little reduced at around 42% abv.
The dram arrives warming and instantly coats all of the mouth with a creamy feeling. There is no bitter-drying moment at all despite almost 40 years in a heavy sherry butt, triple wow! The finish is virtually endless and adds more spicy-herbal-tobacco notes that are delicious in combination with the sweet sherry and sugars. There is just a minor drying-bitter feeling towards the end that is absolutely okay for such an old heavy-sherried dram - and this dryness vanishes completely with the somewhat reduced dram.