It's just before passover and I want to have an enjoyable dram before I lock up my collection to ensure it remains Kosher the rest of the year (in case I ever want to serve to someone who cares about such things).
I was going to review the last dram of this bottle, which I obtained in Calgary in December 2015 and opened January 3 of 2016. It has been gassed after each use. I may have sent off some samples (my bottles don't usually go so quickly). When I decanted this in October 2016 it turns out that I completely filled a 60 cc bottle, so I can't file this under "finished" just yet. The last bottle I reviewed was also down to the last 60 cc and didn't really live up to expectations. Let's see if decanting helps:
It is reviewed in my "usual manner".
Neat - Good start. Ash, wine. Very rich. Something fresh. The wine seems to fade with time leaving dry peat in the forefront. Something that I recognize from my grandfather's old workshop, or, could it be, WD40? A little burnt rubber, or plastic? Or whatever those space lego tires from the 1980s were made of when you burned them to make it look like some sort of crash or something... A little longer and the sherry peeks through again. Nice. Layered, interesting. 22.5/25
With water - I get a hint of a green savoury spice, like oregano or tarragon. The ash is a little less in my face (literally). The sherry and peat seem more integrated. I get smoked ham on the nose now. A little more complex. (23/25)
Neat - WHoaH! Oh, my! First sip was like licking an ashtray (which I have never actually done). I get sherry on a sweeter second sip, also grape juice. The development is a little sour. Some sawdust. Not too complex but quite unique. 21.5/25
With water - Lots of ash and peat on the first sip but it's integrated with the sherry. Slightly sweet. Development takes me through a number of flavours (all ashy). Touch of menthol a half an hour after the water is added. (22/25)
Finish - I get cured ham every time I breath out. Just from the first sip. Lasts a while. Very astringent. 22/25 Water sweetens the finish but it remains astringent. (22/25)
Balance: In general, this is not a balanced dram, it is very peat-heavy. But the nose and the palate are in synch. 21.5/25 Slightly more balanced with water. (22/25)
Score - Neat: 87.5 With water: 89/100
Adjusted score based on experience: 90/100
I hate letting things go. When I get to the near-end of my bottles I'm loath to finish them (especially if I don't have a spare or 2, which I do in this case). I wonder if again, I let this go on too long. I am pretty sure that in the first couple of months I would have scored this a 90 or 91, hence my adjusted score. I think I need to learn to move on more quickly, another argument for not opening any more bottles till a few of these become history.
Unlike the last review... I'll be savouring this one for a while longer... to the last drop.
Happy Passover everyone!