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Over the past three years I have accumulated a number of miniatures, many from UK online retailers in order to bring the maximum volume of spirits (1.1 L) back into Canada. more recently, I have been generously gifted a number of samples from a fellow Connosr.
After reading a recent series by @TAlexander, I’ve been inspired to prepare my own reviews of miniatures and samples. I wasn’t quite ready to start, and I would not have started with this one, except that the LCBO released Glenfarclas 105 over the weekend and I need to know if I “need” to get some before they’re gone.
This miniature was ordered from The Whisky Exchange in 2011 and brought over by a friend shortly after. Batch L5081BB 1 12 58. This is my first taste of this expression and this distillery. The bottle was unsealed for this review, and I am sampling a 25 cc pour.
Notes are presented neat and with water, 2.5 cc of water having been added after all notes for “neat” were taken, and the glass left to open up for 20 minutes.
Nose Neat: First impression is a hit of sherry, followed by raisins and prunes. This subsides with time in the glass. A slight spirity note. Dates as they smell when being cooked in preparation for date squares. Cinnamon, raw cookie dough. Almond extract (the artificial kind, sort of bitter almond...oh that’s it...CYANIDE). This is a drier nose than say, A’Bunadh.
Nose with water: More fruity. The sherry is back but not overwhelming. Some shoe polish, then leather...no, FRUIT leather. Sour cherry, bitter almond in the background (much less than before). The nose is definitely more complex and balanced with water.
Taste Neat: The first taste is fiery, hot. Not surprising with an ABV of 60%. The dried fruits are there. The alcohol really overwhelms the flavour.
Taste with water: Still has an alcohol burn but not as painful. Some sherry, dried fruits coming through.
Finish: Tannins, very drying. No appreciable change with water.
This is a fiery one. It has a great nose but a very intimidating burn. I don’t usually like more than a drop or two of water in my whisky, even at cask strength. In many sherry monsters that’s fine, but this one really needs taming.
I added an extra cc or so of water afterward and it tamed it a little more, with a lot less of the fire and a lot more flavour.
It seems to go well with milk chocolate, and even with dark chocolate.
The longer I sit with it (close to 2 hours since pouring), the more I like it.
Will I get a bottle? Not sure yet. It’s drier than A’Bunadh, but so are the Macallan CS and Bladnoch at 55%. Not sure what this adds to my cabinet. Even though Bladnoch and Macallan are no longer available, I have enough to last me a LONG time, and even more of the A’Bunadh.
The 105 may be a bottle that I can experiment with, trying different amounts of water to see how it changes, an experiment I might not want to do with my rarer sherry monsters.