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The bottle has been open for about 2 months.
The nose has a scent of rum, unmistakenly and not very surprising. Malt sweetness and I also get a whiff of Oloroso (which is strange as I believe this is only bourbon cask and rum cask, but it's there anyway). Papaya... some Tropicana and wet dark ebony wood. Some roasted/toasted elements in there, can't really pinpoint it. Bit of dark marmalade seems to be a common thread in the Balvenie for me.
The palate is sweet and round. A bit syrupy without being oily, if that makes sense. Definitely dark brown marmalade on toast (makes me recall the background elements of the 17yrs). Not dry (yesterday I had an Oogie which literally dried the tongue, but this has none of that). A whiff of pencil shavings, and some more papaya and tropical fruit. Again, that Oloroso in there, and I also seem to detect some PX - probably my mind playing tricks on me and I'm literally just typing this 'real-time' as I get along with the dram...
The finish lingers on for a while, medium, and the roasted elements come to the forefront. Like the scrapings of a burnt toast of brown bread left for too long.
It's well integrated and a bit different - different is good. Yet, for some reason, it's a bit non-descript. It's not one I come back to often, but when I do it's a nice revisit. I've given it an 86, for I think it is worth it - despite the fact that for some reason, I have other expressions in the cabinet that I also rate 86, but tend to come back to much more often. What can I say, life's unfair. I'm glad to have it, but am not sure I'd buy it again once the bottle is finished.
PS: if you're a fan of rum and whisky - then it's a no-brainer to try this sweet little half-cast.