Sweet with fruit and spice forward. Highly inviting, but certainly complicated – this takes a little unpicking. Immediate beeswax with pronounced fruitiness – spiced apples, apricots and reduced berries (after some resting, more tropical fruit becomes discernible). Strawberries are a particular emphasis on initial nosing – the port cask influence quite possible. Rather malty, though bright and golden rather than heavy and brown – with a touch of both furniture polish and dusty dunnage. Lightness is delivered though candied citrus peels and icing sugar/sherbet – as times is seems a touch mineral. Deeper aromas are arguably more sherry-led – milk chocolate, boozy fruit cake, raisins. Slightly chimera like – even more resting provides touches of smoke – cask char and burnt oats. Water adds some fruity confectionery - pear drops, whilst also just a hint of buttery biscuit (base).
Silky and viscous with an initial delivery of old oak, reduced fruits and perky spicing. Apricots lead off, supported by spiced orange marmalade and a slightly winey flavour which commences tart and white grape-like, but transforms in the mouth taking on characteristics of red grape skins – thus, more strawberry is gradually emphasised. Toasted bread and burnt biscuit dough provide deeper malty flavours and joined by well-judged spiciness – cinnamon and white pepper. The addition of water further emphasises the malty character – Ovaltine, with slight hint of meat extract. It also changes the spice balance, reducing prickliness with both nutmeg and allspice.
Long, still quite malty and with both pepper and zesty citrus fading nicely. A slight touch of earthiness can be detected towards the very end – wet soils and dunnage once more. Water has an effect on the finish, keeping the overall length, but reducing spicing and adding further dryness.