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Not the first I've tried, mind you, but the first I've owned. Not sure why it took me so long.
On the nose, there is warm, thick, sweet, perfumed, enveloping smokiness. A different quality of smoke that some of the other Islays I've tried. It is not sharp, or ashen, or medicinal. There is a tarry quality to it, and a salty note, but also a note of burning logs, interwoven with aromatic incense-like sweetness. As it sits in the glass there develops a molasses and caramel note. Very complex, yet not overly intense.
At full force, this comes strong on the palate. The tarry smoke really fills the mouth, driven in by the high alcohol and backed up by dark chocolate-covered cherries. The sherry casks are very well-integrated. I find with many smoky sherried whiskies the two styles can clash and become overbearing. Not here.
The finish is pleasantly smoky, not the usual mouth-full-of-ashes sensation from a Laphroaig or Lagavulin. Some fragrant sweetness as the flavour fades.
This is a really impressive Islay malt. I've had this bottle for over a year now and I feel I'm only coming to fully appreciate it now that it's almost gone. Great structure and intensity. It delivers from the aroma straight through to the finish. I hope to have more like this some day.