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Single Cask offerings are fun. It's a high risk, high reward proposition. It's interesting how different the tasting notes and scores are. I've seen this particular whisky scored between 82 and 90 points. Of course, this shouldn't be surprising coming from different reviewers, and especially with single cask offerings from different casks. What's interesting to me is that my sample is from a bottle drawn from cask 5959, the same cask whence came the sample TOModera reviewed. For those of you who aren't familiar with him, he posts on reddit, the Toronto Snob, er I mean, Whisky Society, and on the his own website. His reviews are funny, interesting and provocative, but I'm convinced he doesn't really like anything. He rated this whisky 82/100 points. Fine, everyone's scoring is personal and subjective, but reading his tasting notes after I made mine, I was convinced we were tasting completely different whiskies.
- Nose (undiluted): Christmas fruitcake, tobacco, cherries, dark chocolate, walnuts, and a very slight hint of something earthy. Wow. THAT is an enticing nose. Spectacular. With time the earthy note becomes more prominent and there’s some black pepper developing.
- Palate (undiluted): rich, full-bodied, far more gentle than the abv would suggest, mouth-coating, tobacco, dark cherries, sweet but not cloying, black pepper, plenty of walnuts, another tiny hint of earthiness.
- Finish: long, warming, dark chocolate, cherries, toasted walnuts, a bit of nutmeg and cloves linger.
I could not bring myself to add water to this whisky. If I had a whole bottle, I might try it "for science", but as it was a single 30ml sample, I enjoyed it as is. I sincerely wish anyone who thinks higher strength whiskies “burn too much” or are “harsher” than lower abv offerings gets to try something like this whisky. It is superb. Nothing out of place. Just enough sweetness and spice. “Balanced” is sometimes synonymous with “uninteresting” but “balanced” is a huge compliment in this scenario. There’s nothing uninteresting here. If this whisky’s aroma were a cologne, I would wear it. If there was a car air freshener that smelled like this, I would buy it, though it might be awkward to explain to the police.