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I really, really didn't like the original 12 year. I thought the idea of a tamer Islay malt a nice change of pace, but the way it was presented, I though it came off weak and boring. How is the updated bottling? Well, let's just say someone climbed to the top of the corporate ladder, sat on the ledge, and pushed the ladder over.
The nose reminds me a lot of Springbank 10 year, with a burnt component. There certainly a fruity note that is like candied strawberries, soaked in sherry. This stuff does need a little time to open up, otherwise it seems a little one dimensional (give it the time it deserves).
The palate is rather complex; lots of fruit/floral flavors, mixed with a coal like smoke (not so much peaty), pepper, sea salt, and a slight creaminess are also detected. I'm not too sure what I think of the type of smoke in this stuff. It's interesting to be sure, but I feel there is something a little off about it. It's like eating a christmas cake next to a stove where someone started to scorch something. Different.
Finish wise, it's not too long. A little of the creme note stays with the fresh vegetal note until all traces are gone.
The stuff is strides better than the first bottling, but there is still something that seems a little off (it may just be me). It's different from other Islay malts, but can now hold it's own against any of them (in it's own right). Kind of a like a mix between Ardbeg Uigeadail and Springbank 10 year.