So I have been enjoying a bottle of this for a couple of weeks now. My first taste was from samples at a bar, and I liked it so much I had to track a bottle down for myself. This has been a difficult review to write, because my tasting notes seem to change almost every time I have poured a taste. Always enjoyable, to be sure, but what has been most surprising to me with this bottle is what I am NOT getting. No cloves, no all spice, no cinnamon, cardamom. No figs, no raisons, no dried fruits. This does not taste "autumnal" or particularly old for that matter. I had drawn comparisons, based on samples at bars, to Yamazaki 18, but as I nurse my bottle, I do not get that...At all. So what do I get? Strawberry pie.
The nose is dense fresh baked pastry pie shell, ripe strawberries and that awesome sweet red jelly the berries get slathered in. There is whipped cream, not fresh, but from one of those nitrous bottles (whippits anyone?). Later nosings are full of Twizzlers, red licorice whips.
The taste is where the age of this phenomenal blend becomes more apparent. The strawberries take on a more over-ripe, jammy taste. The wood slowly begins to make itself known - the more you hold it in, the more it asserts itself. After the swallow you are left with slightly tart berries and popsicle sticks, all becoming sweeter as it all slowly fades away. Wow.
I gotta say, this is right up there with the Balvenie Tun series for me. As good a whisky as I have ever tried.