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t first, what a colour – a sort of ruby-esque, sunset Pimms; like no other whisky I’ve seen yet (that’ll be those Tempranillo casks?). On the nose: gentle smoke fires, treacle, sultanas, touch of Christmas cake, maybe even vanilla, just a touch of red wine, then on the back end something more savoury, perhaps a pastry, or a cheese. It’s a distinctive, pervasive aroma. Some whiskies you need to stick your nose in the glass; some you put the glass on the side and let the smell come to you. This is very much the latter.
On the mouth, it’s really beautiful, not too oily, not too dry, just a kind of pleasant, balanced middle ground. This is strong, 50% stuff, yet it’s not harshly overpowering. It’s blissful. Wonderful sweet malts, what an unusual experience and with a tangy, peppery aftertaste. There are all sorts of things going on here, and none of them dominate the palette. Surprised that the smoke wasn’t there as much as I thought it’d be, but the rest of the flavours more than make up for it – or perhaps that should be that the flavours balance it. All in all, it reminds me of the Glenfarclas 15, somehow, but there is more of that rugged, Islay spirit here.