On May 28 I bought a bottle of this Scotch with a gift card and brought it to a dinner party. No one wanted any and the hosts don’t drink whisky so I was given it to take home. It promptly fell out of its box and smashed on the driveway.
I hadn’t planned on tasting it as I was driving. But then having been given the bottle (with the expectation by some present that it would be served at an upcoming whisky club tasting), I now felt a visceral need to undo the wrong that I felt had been done unto me, and on May 29 I bought another bottle (also with a gift card). I decided to open it that evening before anything could happen to it. The reviewing did stretch past midnight before posting.
I tasted the 10 YO years ago before it was rebranded and liked it. More recently I’ve worked my way through a bottle of the 10 / 100 proof which was excellent. How will this do?
Aside from the age and the ABV there’s little information on the bottle but the website states "80% Bourbon barrels, 20% Sherry hogshead. Final year in first fill Oloroso casks". There is no mention of chill filtration (probably yes at 43%) or whether colour has been added.
This expression is reviewed in my usual manner, allowing it to settle for about an hour after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting. I decided to use three different glasses (Glencairn, Brandy Snifter and my new Bourbon glass) for this review.
Neat – In the glencairn, beautiful nose, light, sweet, some apple, sweet red grape, maybe some wine. The more I sniff it the more complexity I find. The snifter provides a richer nose, more syrup, but the alcohol is there. In the bourbon glass the nose is a little subdued, less spirit, more emphasis on the fruit. Beautiful nose. 23/25
With water – a few drops make little change in the Glencairn, but in the snifter the alcohol explodes (so does the fruit). The Bourbon glass seems to have a rich, more balanced nose. Some more water (total 1-2 cc max) gives the glencairn a richer, more syrupy nose. In the snifter I get old, worn shoe leather, and deeper notes in the bourbon glass. With water the peat becomes noticeable in the background. Fantastic. (23/25)
Neat – In the glencairn, sweet arrival, but dry development. Some pepper, definitely wine influenced. In the brandy snifter it’s very bitter with less fruitiness. The bourbon glass is somewhere in between. In all, slightly thinner than I’m used to and not as powerful as expected. 21/25
With water – In the glencairn the flavour becomes a little richer, as in the snifter, and the mouth feel is creamier in the bourbon glass. Adding more water increases the effect. Much later I get the menthol note I remember from the 100 proof. (22/25)
Finish: sweet, medium long, and slightly astringent. Maybe it’s in the finish that the peat becomes most noticeable (as an aftertaste). Pleasant. 21/25
Balance: Neat, the mouth feel is a little thin and doesn’t deliver the promise of an awesome nose. 21/25 With water it is a little more balanced and richer. (22/25)
Score: Neat - 86 /100 With Water: 88 /100
It’s important to note that these impressions came from a new, freshly opened bottle, and it is likely to change with time and air (though I do gas).
Compared to the 100 proof it’s not a contender, but on its own it’s a pretty nice dram and not one I would shy away from, especially with such a nose! I think overall the bourbon glass won this contest.
But I learned a lesson. Never pour angry. I decided to pour into three different glasses, and unlike my last review, after which I was able to pour the remainder into my 30 cc “I couldn’t finish” MoM bottle with room to spare, this one is full and there’s lots left. I ended up filling a 60 cc sample bottle!