Boy, is it good to be back! After a slight break from whisky, and after having explored the world of good quality beers and wines for a little while, I was tempted to pick up a bottle of this often overlooked whisky. And so I did! With whisky prices growing like crazy and the Russian ruble diminishing in value, it can be challenging to keep up this alcoholic journey in Moscow. However, the price tag on this bottle was so nice I thought I'd give it a shot. So what do I think?
NOSE: one of the most complex noses I've ever got out of a light speyside whisky. A lot of malt, hay, sweet and fruity. There's a Russian version of rock candy which is just basically melted sugar with different coloring mixed in which is then dried into the shape of a rooster. And it's definitely here. Vanilla, some green grassy notes, acacia honey, a hint of green pepper with lemon flesh and peel. Canned pears in sugar syrup. Hint of banana custard, orange zest, some nuttiness and a remote touch of menthol toothpaste (but in a good way). Cinnamon, cinnamon verum, in particular, because this variety has a more candy-type smell to it. And finally cilantro and a touch of peat (almost indistinguishable). Wow! 24/25
TASTE: this is where this whisky fails a little bit, in my opinion. It comes on like this well-meaning, fruity chap on the nose which really makes you expect something similar on the palate. But then you take a sip and boom: lots of peppery flavor, very big Talisker /Clynelish type pepperiness with fruit which is almost totally covered in this attack of pepperiness. I say pepperiness, because it's not like black pepper or chili pepper. It's just neutrally peppery. Then you get some honey, citrus, pineapples, apples disappearing into the finish. 20/25
FINISH: malty, a hint of sour kiwi and some fresh white fruits. Long, but very delicate. So delicate, in fact, that it's easy not to notice it at all. But it's there. 19/25
OVERALL IMPRESSION: a very complex and interesting whisky indeed. However, it's very unbalanced. The transition from the aroma to the palate is, to put it mildly, intense. So intense, in fact, that is doesn't really help the flavors of this whisky to come out. It masks them a little bit. So is a good whisky? Definitely worth a try. Would I buy it again? I might think twice. I do enjoy the nose. The taste...not as much. But it's not horrible.