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I was gifted this for the birth of my second child three weeks ago. It was opened straight away and I will say from the off that I've been reaching for this more than any other bottle I currently have open. Yes, it's that good! Bottle is just over half-full and the review is neat - It's also a little premature, perhaps, but I feel I should do this while some remains in the bottle ...
Nose - Mum's nail polish remover, custard, some fizzing spices (think cinnamon, clove and mint), a strong herbal component with a sage-like note being most prominent. In fact, this is distinctly 'un-sweetened' compared to most bourbons but the balance is perfect. A little touch of Parma Violet sweets, liquorice (oddly) and a hint of apricot pastries. There's oak too but I have to focus to pick it out it is so well-integrated, which is another huge plus here.
Taste - Great mouthfeel, chewy almost, with a gorgeous arrival of sweet, sour and herbal notes unfurling on the tongue. The acetone note is a large part of the taste but it works superbly, tempering the spices and sweetness from the nose. Turns herbal as it develops with more sage, other stewing herbs and some anise, as well as some Turkish Delight.
Finish - A great balance of sweet, dry and herbal again but this is perhaps the point in the performance where the sweetness leads, if just for a moment and it rounds things off satisfyingly, making one remember that this is a bourbon after all.
With water and/or time I find that the custard notes become more prominent as do the fruitier notes but it still retains a pleasing balance and doesn't ever let the sweeter notes dominate.
I have tasted finer and more complex whisk(e)ys (although not that many - if any? - bourbons, it must be said) but what I really like about this is its ability to perform that allusive trick of being worthy of contemplation whilst also being as quaffable as a cold pint of cider after 18 holes of golf on a hot day. It's a potentially dangerous combination and one that I find rarely crops up in the world of whisk(e)y; but while I won't be complaining, my liver might ...