This was better than I expected. Lots of nice delicate oak on the palate, plenty of lovely pastry notes mixed with very clean smoke. I like the earthier, more oak-forward turn on the development. I wish it had a bit of a thicker texture, and, though it has decent length, the finish could have a bit more meat to it. Still, a very solid choice in a travel-retail market that’s becoming increasingly crowded with watered-down, generic expressions.
Nose: Quite sweet and mildly smoky. Lots of nougat, chocolate covered toffee, various sugar-dusted pastries, and candied nuts. The smoke is soft and gentle, with black pepper and some dried herbs. Very sweet malted barley and caramel. The fruit is buried deep: vanilla-poached pears, nectarines, dried cranberries, and banana. Some fragrant beeswax and rose as well.
Palate: Medium-light texture. Orchard fruit and pineapple up front, along with toffee and beeswax. Sweet, honeyed smoke on the development, as things turn slightly more savoury and oak-forward. The smoke is more intense here than on the nose. There’s soft oak and leather, slight clove, and nutty malted barley. Chocolate mint, tiramisu, and plenty of honey-sweetened English Breakfast tea towards the back.
Finish: Still sweet, but smokier. Chocolatey smoke and soft oak. A bit of cola, a bit more cinnamon, marshmallow, and nutmeg. Campfire and cast iron. Distant ginger, mint, and dried herbs. Maple forest in autumn.