A small highland distillery, in the 30's it was apparently owned by a New York mobster. It was bought in 2002 from Pernod Ricard by Andrew Symington, who also runs independent bottler Signatory. In some ways its not unlike the Springbank/Cadenhead connection.
Stangely the 10 year old is the only one of their whiskys which they "chill filter" and it's bottled at 40%. It's weird since Signatory is know for its unchillfiltered line. It's a vatting of bourbon & sherry casks, no specific mentions.
Nose: Musty, damp basement, funky, a bit of sweetness, vanilla, milk jam, a feeling of oxydized sherry, the tiniest hint of peat, like smelling burnt leaves in the distance.
Palate: At first I got chinchona bark like in tonic water, it was very weird. Allspice, black earth, puer eh tea. It veers into full on malted barley notes but with a good dose of oak spices, there is also a feeling of sharp cider.
Finish: Oak, caramel, coconut oil, juniper, a touch of chlorine & damp concrete.
What a ride! This thing has lots of character, despite the low ABV, it's not an easy one but none of it was unpleasant. Some bits reminded me of the grimy side of Springbank.
That said I wouldn't buy a bottle of this, it lacks some of the depth to push it into the high score territory. I am definitely curious to try more from this distillery.
@cricklewood, I was actually thinking not so much "40% version v. higher-ABV versions" but rather "old Edradour v. newer Edradour."
Just because the old ones seem to pretty widely panned, and I see lots of folks giving Edradour their unofficial "most improved" nods over the past few years.
@cricklewood - Thanks for the excellent review - love the title! It does sound interesting but you've further convinced me it would be prudent to hold out for one of the more 'craft' offerings.