This is the last review from the 4 samples sent to me by @cricklewood. It is mysteriously labelled "My Youth on a Scottish Island." All I know is that his is a Scotch. Otherwise this is a blind review.
Sample is neat in a Glencairn. I did some hand warming of the glass as it is a cool 67F in the house today.
Nose: Definitely sherry cask maturation involved. Grapes, plums, raisins, brown sugar. Softer sherry notes but there are lots of them. Some baking spices come to play. Also, banana, maple syrup, and butterscotch. Malty, with vanilla as well. It reminds me of some Arran and Glenfarclas noses. This also feels stronger than 40 something abv.
Palate: Silky smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Notes of sherry appear in force! This is punchier than the nose would have led me to believe. Dark chocolate, hazlenut, almond, butterscotch clear the path followed by dark fruits. Very ripe apricot, plum, black grapes and dark berries. This is good strength too. Almost hot even. But I like it. These flavors transition to strong oak. Lovely, strong oak notes that really culminate things.
Finish: Long finish of brown sugar, gingerbread cake and oak.
Overall: A strong sherried scotch with good flavor and transitions on the palate.
Now that I know what this is, here is some info on this very special bottle:
Arran 1996 Cask #2003, bottled exclusively for Kensington Wine Market (Calgary AB), 18yrs old. Aged in a sherry hogshead.
Distilled: 11.12.1996 Bottled: 09.09.2015
Upon searching, this barrel produced 232 bottles at a lovely cask strength of 53.7%
I would like to thank @cricklewood very much for the 4 samples sent to me. 3 of the samples are things I probably would never have been able to try otherwise, and I'm extremely grateful.