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The Accidental Review
I was looking for something to sustain me tonight as I finish some work and prepare minutes for a meeting, so I rummaged through my growing collection of neglected samples and poured the last 10 cc of this bottle, generously supplied by @Victor. I think I have a bottle of the same batch (same ABV). First sniff and I felt I had to write a review of it! It was gassed since I first poured some a long time ago, and I don’t know how long the bottle was open before the sample was poured.
I’m captivated by its rich, dark brown colour. Normally I don’t pay any heed to appearance, but given that by law bourbon cannot contain added colour, this is natural and all a result of oak interaction, and I can’t help but be impressed by the power of the wood.
This expression is reviewed in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.
Neat – On first sniff, brown sugar and caramel, some vanilla. Left covered a few minutes and I get fruits, medium pitch. Cherries? Like from Cott’s black cherry soda. Dusty medium to heavy syrup. This is a warm, dark nose. You’d never guess this was 70% alcohol but the nose cries out FULL FLAVOUR . 23/25
With water – The nose remains fruity and full with no appreciable changes. (23/25)
Neat – Very oaky. Dusty. Sweet arrival, sour/bitter development. Astringent. Dark strong vanilla, some caramel in the background. Strong but not complex. You don’t feel any alcohol nip. 21/25
With water – Suddenly becomes hotter. After a few minutes this new alcohol nip fades to be replaced by a spiciness. Sweeter arrival, less bitter. I get some menthol or mint, and a more prominent sourness on the development. Much more complex than before and much more pleasant. (22/25)
Finish: Very dry, bitter . Medium finish. Unremarkable. 21/25. With water the finish is sweeter, less bitter, but not too long. (21.5/25)
Balance: The nose promises wonders but the palate does not deliver. Very uni-dimensional. 21/25 Water definitely enhances the balance and the entire experience, and helps this grow and open. (22.5/25)
Score: Neat - 86/100 With Water: 89 /100
Adjusted Score based on Patience and Enjoyment: 91/100
This is powerful bourbon. Even the last 10 cc are delicious. Although I like my bourbons neat, a few drops of water make this open beautifully, and while it brings out the alcohol, within 10-15 minutes this subsides leaving a full-bodied, more complex dram.
When I first started writing this review I thought that my 2 bottles (1 of this batch) were unlikely to excite me to buy more, but by the end of my review I feel obligated to bring more into Canada if I can, especially to share, because this a unique and flavourful bourbon.