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I bought this bottle for a very reasonable price at a local retailer here in Taiwan. The salesman at the store seemed to endorse it (in an honest way). I had tried the traditional 12 yr old Benriach and I had thought it was quite good, but not great. He assured me this was a very different dram. I was interested by the combination of Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez casks. I had no idea at that time that I was about to discover an absolutely lovely whisky that would become a mainstay in my cabinet.
Right away we get a hit of spice with the nose. Sultanas, pepper, and nutmeg. Then the sherry scent starts to show itself. I get some dark cherries, dried banana, figs, and burnt vanilla.
The arrival is even spicier. As it hits the front of your mouth you notice it's soft creamy texture. As soon as it reaches the back of your tongue it's a quick and strong spice attack. For some reason I'm reminded of Caribbean jerk spice here, but that may just be me. Peppery. The spiciness doesn't linger, but rather smoothly transitions into the sherry flavours, with figs, cherries, and caramel rounding it out. The finish is quite creamy. The flavours linger but become light and almost milky as they dissipate.
I tend to enjoy sherried whiskies above all else, but I also enjoy creaminess. This one is a particularly enjoyable and unique dram as it has married both of these qualities beautifully. There's spice, there's sherried complexity, and there's a finish that's as smooth as ice cream. It's not for everyone. The spices may be a bit much for some. Also, it's not a full on sherry bomb, nor is it a "light" creamy whisky. It's somewhere in between, without loosing its Speyside identity. Certainly interesting and one I'll definitely be buying again. If you can find it. You may not love it, but you won't be bored.