I was surprised a few months ago when I was looking through my miniatures and I came across this one, and I realized I had not done a review of it yet. I was waiting to do it as my 200th review but then I got mixed up with my counting, and then, when I was all set to do it, I became too stressed over the US election so I actually poured it back in the bottle untasted. Today I finally had enough time without distractions to prepare my review.
I first tasted this expression back in 2014 at the Spirit of Toronto Amrut masterclass. My notes suggest I liked it but then I tasted the peated CS expression. So in the interest of transparency I decided to smell and taste the CS alongside this.
This expression is reviewed, in a Brilliant Highland whisky glass, in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.
Fruity. Light syrup. Though when I first poured this on Tuesday there was a waft of smoke, the smoke is more in the background today. Smoked ham. The Ashok Manoeuvre brings out more of everything, including tropical fruit punch. Nice nose. Water does not seem to make a difference to the nose.
In contrast, the peated CS has a slightly more sour note, almost like the pickle juice I get from some ryes. With the Ashok manoeuvre the nose becomes amazingly rich.
Sweet arrival. Lots of peat. Fruity. Slightly thin mouthfeel. Not very complex, but the Ashok manoeuvre makes the fruits much more layers. Water thins out the mouthfeel and dilutes the flavour, slightly improved with the Ashok Manoeuvre. I get more peat now. (20.5/25)
In contrast, the CS is an absolute flavour bomb, with or without water, with or without the Ashok Manoeuvre.
Some ash, oak tannins in the fairly long finish. Slightly sour.
The nose promises a little more complexity than the palate seems to deliver. The Ashok manoeuvre brings out more flavour.
Score: Neat - 86/100 With Water: 85/100
Putting this H2H vs the CS version is incredibly unfair. It’s like comparing a decent car to the “best in class”. Or putting OGD BiB vs OGD 114. On it’s own this is a very good single malt. At 46% it can hold it own. But compared to its higher proof sibling, there is no contest.
I added some of the CS and it seemed to support it, but I don’t see the point of doing that…go with the CS if you want something richer.
I would not buy a bottle of this, because I have a lot of the CS and, given the choice, would always pick the latter. But if offered at a party I would definitely accept a dram.