Nose: At first there seems to be a some sherry-casking in the vatting, with figs, rhubarb and raspberry, and even mint leaf sinking deep into a pool of honey and caramel. A secondary wave however brings some smokier complexity to the nose, with light cigar smoke wafting in, nestling on a bed of charred oak coated in tingling wood polish. Restrained given its strength, however certainly serene and intriguing.
Taste: The deep pool of honey arrives on the palate, bringing with it a full bodied marinade of marshmallow and caramel, soaking the tangerine, nougat and pistachio within it. There is an element of spice that lightens the weight of the palate, with peppered oak and cinnamon smoke creeping through the heady honey. Very composed and mature, almost noble in its approach.
Finish: The spice comes up trumps on the finish, the charred oak and prickly black pepper jumping out of the more dessert-like pool of sweets that first graced us on the palate. These spices however are still wet from the caramel, and upon exiting the pool they have some tangerines and pistachios still stuck to them, and even a rogue bit of seaweed. An almost messy affair that is kept together by the balanced serenity of the oak.
Balance: It is an almost noisy affair, with the fruits, sweets and spices all jostling for a say, however in the end the mature wood keeps the din to a barely audible low. One senses however an overly disciplined approach, and there is an element of the headmaster to this whisky. Very noble and respectable, with mature complexity and finesse, however a character that is unlikely to smile unless there is a reason, and for the most part keeps a restrained and solemn gaze. With a slightly warmer and more expansive approach and this would be a stunning whisky.