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The nose opens with sweet barley, honey follows, then the fruit. The smell of the sea comes soon after, which then reveals hints of old wood. After allowing it to open up more, I noticed a faint smell that reminded me of our old produce cellar that I would sneak into as a kid : )
When this stuff hits your palette, all the complexity that makes up the whisky, elegantly unfolds; it's a rather organized dance of flavors. The fruit and honey notes are immediate, followed by salt and old wood (mixed with the barley). The "higher" alcohol content adds some prickliness, but it really compliments the bitter citrus and licorice that follows the other flavors, which I find rather intriguing.
The finish fights between the bitter citrus, salt, and seaweed, but the seaweed wins out in the end. A lovely, fresh finish (like the many Islay malts I am used to).
Until tasting this, Highland Park 12 was my favorite scotch outside of the Islay bottlings. I think I just found another amazing Highlander. Now I have two choices for the quieter days : )