Tasted in tandem with its twin (WB ID 100402).
Refill sherry (or, yes, okay: paxarette) on the nose, slight sulphur in the background - perhaps like the lit fuse of a firecracker a few meters away. Weirdly enough, it's not at all bad... I daresay it even makes the nose a bit more interesting and "fiery". No alcohol whatsoever on the nose; impressive. Sweet and fruity like its sister bottling, but with an additional peppery edge. This one noses perhaps a tiny bit "darker", with rum-soaked raisins rather than sweet peaches. The wood is there, but it's far from domineering.
Very good nose, characteristically Highlands, fruity and robust.
Begins super oily in the mouth, then the sweetness hits, and then the wood spices. First impression: it's a mouthful, but a bit too much for me at this strength: the burn drowns out the flavors and cuts them short. So, some water is in order...
With water, the nose becomes sweeter, with strong notes of burnt caramel. It also becomes more overtly and more "creamily" sherried. Not sure if that's an improvement - it may be for some. The fiery nature is hard to tame, even with water, but now it's supremely drinkable. The firecracker association persists into the palate, and I still consider it an asset. To me, this tastes like a new year's eve kind of dram: sweet and sumptuous enough to serve as a digestif; strong and substantial enough to hold up to whatever has been consumed beforehand.
After it has settled and absorbed the water, I find additional and appealing notes of beef consommé, but also some rubber, which some people might dislike, but I don't mind personally. The finish is unspectacular as it simply repeats what has come before (sherry, sweetness, umami) but neither adds anything new nor lasts particularly long. Also, I find myself missing a bit of oak in the aftertaste, and that's saying something, after 28 years...
So: a big, chewy, malt, somewhat vulgarly and sweetly sherried. The age gives it complexity but, regrettably, not a memorable finish. Still very worthwhile though. A bottle to actually drink rather than hoard.
Now: which one would I prefer? Really hard to say. I like the nose better on this one, but the sister cask has the edge when it comes to the palate. Let's call it even Steven.