Ah - this is a distillery I don't think I've ever tried before! How exciting! Although the branding and single malt releases are relatively new, this Speyside distillery was established in 1967 by a subsidiary of Scottish & Newcastle Breweries. The vast, vast majority of output has always been dumped into blends, save for some IBs. But since it was recently purchased by Billy Walker (and two others), ex of BenRiach, and who hired himself as Master Distiller, it has been outputting a lot of single malts, as well as blended malts under the label MacNair's Lum Reek.
The 15 Year Old is finished in a combination of Pedro Ximiniz and oloroso sherry puncheons and hogsheads. Their releases are non-coloured and non-chill-filtered.
The colour is a dark amber, surprisingly dark for a non-coloured 15 year old. On the nose it's rum-raisin, dark chocolate and dates - big sherry influence here. Cinnamon and ginger. Dark caramel. Add water and the malt tries to peek it's way through the cask. The sherry finish here is very well done, though unfortunately at the expense of the distillate.
On the palate we have shiraz, cloves, deep oak and raspberries. Mouth-coating. Nice black pepper, too. Very dark chocolate. Black coffee. Hint of orange, which becomes more pronounced with water. This is as rich as it gets, folks.
The finish is rich, peppery, oaky and tannic. One would think this was fully matured in sherry, but I don't think so. Having said that, as rich and fruity as it is, the cask finish does overwhelm. If you love your sherry bombs, you'll love this one.