Nose, Taste, Finish and Balance are graded out of 2.5 each:
Please note that this review is for the 2009 bottling, not the 2008 as listed
Nose: Well where do I start? The first thing to note is that the nose is nowhere near as strong as one would expect from a 70.7 ABV powerhouse bourbon. In fact I'd even go as far as to say that it's quite restrained, more so than many far lighter bourbons. That's not to say it isn't staggeringly dense with intricate flavour, far from it. Indeed I get the distinct impression I'm being cunningly lured in for the kill. Pineapple is the first to break the silence, before we're serenaded by polished saddle-leather and tobacco. Further fruit notes of lemon and granny smith apples tantalise us deeper into the glass, allowing us to indulge in heaps of brown sugar and warm custard. One feels as though we're not yet at the bottom of it, there's certainly another gear or two to shift through. Indeed as we continue exploring, new flavour dimensions are constantly revealed. Sweet mint, basil and eucalyptus offer a fascinating coalition of flavours, supported by curious notes of broccoli stem and ready salted potato crisps. As we go in for one last tour, wood polish, pinecone and rubber reward us for our perseverance. I feel as if I could go on exploring all night, however I'm equally aware there's a whole bottle's worth of future nosings to get through, so let's settle for what we've got so far. 2.0
Taste: It's like pulling a thick warm duvet over your tongue, with voluptuous nougat and cotton candy wrapping around the palate. Incredibly for a liquid so thick and dense it isn't at all syrupy or sickly, and once again feels like it's operating well within its own power, like the softly purring engine of a luxury performance car, calmly cruising through the neighbourhood. After dinner mint chocolates, vanilla sponge cake and thick custard caress the palate further, as we succumb fully to the poise and grace of this indomitable bourbon. 2.5
Finish: At first it's a dense liquorice black hole, sucking all matter into its luxurious abyss, before exploding back out with apple, aniseed and pomegranate. Chewing tobacco slowly starts to swoon onto the palate, accompanied by wood and plant stem, and an eccentric combination of radish, pencil lead and pear form bright constellations alongside a soft supernova of hollow spice. Quite a pleasurably belittling experience. 2.5
Balance: It's truly astounding how composed this whiskey is at such a hight alcohol content. So much so that I'd even say the nose is slightly too restrained, however perhaps I'm being overly critical. The flavours are all there, in fact more than one could ever begin to fathom in one sitting alone. As I said one could spend a few hours on the nose alone, however as rewarding as that journey is, it could be argued that it's a longer one than it needs to be. Once however we arrive at the palate and the finish, this whiskey really is operating on another level to anything else. Majestic is a word that is often over-used, however here it couldn't be more appropriate. It may be the image of a Stagg on the bottle label, however I'd say this bourbon is more of a basking male lion, awesome in it's calm beauty and power. 2.5
It is a nice poetic review, which would seem rather accurate to me, though I often use some different descriptors. You taste chocolate here more than I do, and I really don't know the flavour of gooseberry. I like the "tanner's" as a locale, and love the turn of phrase: "The finish stays with you, I suspect, until you retire and start collecting pension." I would have liked to have written that sentence myself. All in all, I consider it a very nice review, Tabarak!