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Had my first bottle of this Heaven Hill product a year or so ago and liked it that much I've since bought another two! It was much to my disappointment though that when I opened this a couple of months back it was not what I had experienced last time out. This had an off-putting nutty, bitter, wood-sap note that completely dominated the nose and palette. To improve things a bit I have decanted this bottle several times and left the lid off overnight a good few times as well.
Result? It's got better, slowly, and is now at a point where it can be sipped neat - hence the review. Bottle's about 2/3's full and review is without water.
Nose - acetone, fudgey toffee and a sour, yeasty note; some mint and nuts too. There's still some of that bitter-wood sappy note but it's softer and more integrated than at first acquaintances. Quite sharp.
Taste - Immediately nutty, like pecan and walnuts, with caramel and cherry syrup developing. There's an undercurrent of the wood sap. Definitely a 'sour mash'!
Finish - Medium. Wood sap and bitter tannins with a touch of the sweetness lingering on the tongue.
Obvioulsy, I imagine, this hasn't delighted me quite like the last bottle which was exceptional as soon as I opened it. I remember forcing myself to drink other whisk(e)ys as I was draining it so quickly! Not so here, I'm afraid. This may keep improving but it seems to have settled down now to a point where I don't expect much more from it. In fairness, I could imagine some bourbon fans getting on with this profile but not me. It goes rather nicely indeed on ice though - losing all bitterness and becoming much sweeter. Adding water just increases the sappy side. I imagine it would also do well in a cocktail. Ah well, you can't win them all, I just hope the other bottle's a bit more like the first . . .