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Yeah, the title says it all about this expression from The Balvenie. The spirit can stand straight up with classic Balvenie character still available through the Sherry treatment but then a splash of water opens new territories to be explored, see end of review...
A lovely amber due to the young Sherry cask.
Nose: The Oloroso Sherry tone is immediate and forceful; no hiding it spent time in that cask. Earthy, minerally and a light peaty vapour along with apricot and orange zest when uncut then a faint apple and pear added when splashed with water. While it sits you can pick up undertones of almonds, honey, vanilla, tannic oak, cedar, heather, and some pepper. The house character is here but a bit tricky to discover through the Sherry overtone.
Taste: Initially neat the palate is treated to a more forceful peat, slightly sweet malt, Sherry, citrus, peppery, boozy and may I say minty notes. When cut, you can then find more nutty, heather, wild flowers, pear, and a faint metallic quality.
Finish: Long lasting with a noticeable tingle of alcohol and spice, dry and tannic. When cut it shortens the finish dramatically and brings about a minerally characteristic.
Mouth feel: Medium bodied with a rich, oily and a bit abusive house character, adding water soothes the feel but then makes it almost too oily.
Overall: Personally I preferred to drink a shorter dram straight due to the finish and mouth feel becoming flabby with water added. It would be noted that if giving to a friend who is not that familiar to the scotch whiskey I would still serve with H20.
(Original notes from 10 August 2010)