When I first tried this I instantly fell in love. Something about the old-school style and combination of sherry, bourbon and some peat got my whisky juices flowing. I've since tried a few from the range and, while the peated expression (to my surprise) didn't quite get me going, I've really enjoyed the other offerings.
I opened this bottle in November last year, had a pour, decided I had too many open and that it probably needed a bit of air, so promptly popped the cork back and in the cupboard it remained until about a month ago. Review is neat and about 4/5's remain.
Nose - Malty leather (yeah, you know the stuff, right? ;) stale ale - like walking past a pub in times when pubs still had people in them, some dusty, musty spices -baking ginger, mild cinnamon and a hint of fennel, earthy dunnage notes, a fair hint of varnish/polish type aromas, cocktail cherries and musty sherry notes with a decent whack of peat smoke running through it all. So not much going on really ...
Taste - Leathery, peaty and sweet and sour arrival. Definitely ale like with some unusual, yet certainly 'Benromachy' musty notes - a bit like dark soy sauce on funky mushrooms. Some of that quite sharp varnish note hangs around, unfortunately, but it's not doing too much harm. Mouth-feel starts quite rich and waxy but tapers off and leaves a little watery. A gingery warmth comes on.
Finish - Medium with some pleasantly bitter tannins, and yet more of that leather. Perhaps a little dark chocolate, some tartness (sour cherry) and a little tang of peat.
Time opened has not helped this I feel. It seems to have lost a little cohesion and gone a little flabby - not what i would have expected but maybe there's a lesson to be learned there? Still very good whisky and I have to concur with the prevailing view that this is one of the best ten year olds out there and insanely good value in today's markets.
Maybe my expectations were a little high (this is my 4th bottle), maybe my tolerance for leathery funk is diminishing, and maybe time didnt help it but, I don't know, something just isn't grabbing me here like it has in the past. I think its the bitterness and spirity-ness on the palate combined with that watery-ness as it develops that puts my nose out a touch. Still, this bottle will be enjoyed and I would happily recommend this as one of the best value malts going.