There’s one thing having a whole bottle to study, as opposed to [sometimes inadequate] miniatures/sample bottles, but to have three bottles from the same cask - now that’s an opportunity to truly get inside this thing!
N: I remember my first impressions of this were most favourable [Blog86], with subsequent visits somewhat diminished. I’ve now come full circle - I’m a total sucker for this one, and rightly so. I won’t just give yet another shopping list of stuff because really this is all about combo magic, the whole lot bound up and in it together - namely a rubbery/waxy>creamy<sulphury sweet petroleum, earthy vegetal-oily musty-malty spicy-sweet thing. Super stuff, compliments to the chef! Though it appears at first to be all-sherry to the point of hilarity, that’s not where this story is at all. It can and does indeed transcend it’s heavy [oloroso] inheritance. Within the recipe I pick out lardy cake, Smiths Cheesy Moments, raspberry/tutti-fruity coulis and vibrant [truffle] oils to drool over. A great example of where high abv really pays dividends. And yet there is a fabulous soft-coppery barley spirit at the core.
T: Whilst I’ve found the sherry influence to be utterly outrageous in the past, it doesn’t seem so detrimental now i’m fully inside my third [and last] bottle - I know right, a sucker I tell you! Soon all is well when the malty/oily/vegetal sweetness hits the chew. Even though it seemingly couldn’t be more sherried, there’s something distinctly different here compared to other direct sherry-delivered bombs. The sulphury sherry has a vegetal quality that’s more akin to a rum<malt complex given all that waxy vegetable tannin around. Keep going with it and the sherry ‘boing’ is now only the most minor of distractions. Mouthfeel and flavour combos rule this roost. Not once are you concerned about age, immaturity and even balance - once you’ve let go [analytically perhaps]. The chew goes on with sherried tree-rubber and waxy/creamy, vegetal vanilla cream.
F: Petroleum and rubbery-malty-waxy raisins moving slowly into guar gum and raw chocolate with macha. Rice paper-dry. Later on, occasional waves of rubbery sherry are met with a putrid/sick note that passes by - but it’s the waxy malty>fungal>vegetal chew that remains.
C: Despite some ‘You have failed me for the last time’ moments, get inside it and discover an ‘Impressive, very impressive’ combo of things. The power of the dark side is strong. I’m going to miss it as I return to my Jedi training.
Scores a B