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Opened March 27th, 2012 from a 5cl (50ml) sample bottle.
Nose: Custard, vanilla essence, melting moments, ice cream, confectionery, icing sugar. So sweet. Incredible nose. No alcohol bite. Most amazing confectioner's nose. If there's any malt present on the nose it's the sweetened "Horlicks" variety. Soft, refined and fragrant. I'm blown away. With water: Seems to dull the confectionery sweetness a little and introduces some faint earthy, malty aromas.
Taste: A little tingly at first in a very sweet arrival, just as the nose promised. Some soft citrus there, malt sweetness developing, oak spice comes through as does the obvious Bourbon influence - sweetened cream, icing sugar, vanilla bean. With water: Brings out more woody spice notes and tones down the sweetness.
Finish: Ephemeral, soft, dissolves like melting moments. Dry sweetness and developing baked white fruits (apple pie crust?) in a short but warming finish.
Balance: Nothing out of place. Superb.
A dessert dram that would compliment vanilla ice cream, creme brulee, cheese cake etc. Elegant and refined for such a young spirit.
Score: N23 T23 F22 B24 (92)
Round Two (@ 1 month, 2012-04-28)
Nose: Icing sugar, barley sugar lollies, menthol, waxy green leaves
Taste: Chewy sweet barley sugar, woody spices, vanilla,
Finish: Bitter oak tannins, malt, menthol, citrus oils
Balance: Very well integrated as previously established, hardly a thing out of place.
This whisky has definitely opened up after a month at half level in the sample bottle, taking on a whole new character with much more of the barley malt and spirit coming through. There is a noticeable "fuzziness" on the palette however, hinting at oxidation in early stages but without taking too much away from this good whisky. Citrus oils in the finish are a new development adding a new dimension to the sweet confectionery experience.
This is a really good whisky. While the balance is fantastic, after the second tasting however I felt that there is something holding this whisky back from true greatness - it has definitely lost something from the first tasting - just 4 weeks since opening it is no longer the classy, sweet confectionery "bomb" it was upon opening.
At 4 weeks, is this now a more "true" picture of the whisky? Is the whisky too young (lacking integration) and therefore prone to losing its "charms" too quickly? I have no way of knowing for sure. I think several drams from a full sized bottle over a few months, with slower oxidation and bottle aging would be required to put this to the test. Based on my first experience upon opening however, I would not hesitate to buy a bottle "just to be sure" - and nor should you if you love a sweet whisky - an unforgettable lesson in American oak influence.
Score: N21 T20 F21 B22 (84)
Final (average) score: N22 T22 F21 B23 (88)