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Nose: A fair bit of alcohol coming off this. Had a tough time catching particular notes off it until I'd warmed it a bit in my hand. Much of the typical Speyside fruity notes--pear is most present. The peat is, of course, there... but it is significantly different from the Islay peat I'm used to. It's sharper... like there's a pine element to it. As the glass warms, there are hints of licorice and, faintly, some marzipan.
Water brings out some malty notes
Taste: Yowza! Served neat this has a quick attack... with a fair bit of heat to it. The alcohol heat diminishes to a chilli spice then gets much smokier than the nose would lead you to believe. The peat smoke recedes quickly from the foreground but is always present. Some nuttiness arrives as the smoke settles in. This dram is definitely more enjoyable with water. A half teaspoon calms the arrival. The chilli heat is still there, but it comes on a little slower and more mild mannered. It's a slightly sweet buttery heat--reminds me a bit of Talisker in that regard. The water also helps bring out the nutty notes suggested in the nose.
Finish: Medium in length. Dry. Smokey marzipan. Pepper and oak.
Summary. Really amazing what water does to this one. It's a scrappy whiskey neat, but a little bath tames it and suddenly it's surprisingly sweet and buttery. Then, just when you think you have it figured out, it finishes dry and slightly peppery. Very interesting.