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So this comes from a bottle I bought a long time ago. I don’t even remember how may years it has been opened (three?). This is a compilation of tasting notes from last summer done between April and August. The scores were all about the same 82.5 - 84 depending on the night. Tonight I finally decanted the last little bit of the bottle into two 50mL sample bottles. In honor of this malt here are my impressions. I know that this bottle was created by the same gentleman who created the Laphroaig Quarter Cask bottling.
Nose: Creamy, malty, and fresh barley. Sweet fruit on the nose: apples, cherries, berries (strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries). A little bit of leather and some mustiness in the background, but malt and berries really dominate this nose. There is a strong impression of sweetness with a bit of sharp strawberries. There is a bit of citrus behind that. Perhaps a hint of peat lingers in the far background . . . but you could easily miss it. Honeyed thick malt is driving this vehicle. With time the strawberries are very pronounced as are raspberries. Not all that complex but nice and enjoyable.
With water way more strawberries and fruit.
Taste: Fresh sweet fruit (apples, strawberries, and citrus) gives way to hay and vegital notes. Sweet on the front with butter on the middle. Some peat, then stewed fruit – oranges, apples, and pears. A slight bitterness on the back but not all that bad (if not the good kind of bitterness).
Finish: Medium wave of malt with an edge of peat. Not a peat monster or even a peat main stay; more of a slight peat influence. After the initial peat fire it decrescendos into strawberries again. I would call it a medium big finish but not that long. The medium finish dissolves into some spicy notes of peppercorn and cinnamon.
Complexity, Balance: Not the most complex single malt. But it holds its own. It does a decent job of being balanced from nose to finish. I do wish that peat showed up earlier on the nose and taste. The sweet fruit over topples the balance of the malt and peat. I wish it all balanced out a bit better. Still, not bad.
Aesthetic experience: I like the bottle shape, but not the engraved eagle. The label is all modern and simple with a bit too much information that isn’t helpful. I love the 46% ABV and the use of quarter casks. It is a nice bottle at a cheap price. However, at over $40 I would say no.
Conclusion: This is a great bottle I love to have around (I have gone through 3 or so) when I can pick it up for $32. It isn’t overly complex and I am sure it is young. That said, the use of peat and the quarter casks really help this guy along. I would love to see an older expression at cask strength. Next time I’m in Nashville to see family I know I’ll pick it up again.