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I like spirits with a strong character. I want flavour and complexity. I also seek out smoothness. Not many spirits achieve that perfect balance of smoothness and character. In my experiece, albeit limited, I have encountered very few whiskies can have a strong, powerful personality while maintaining a balanced smoothness. This dram is so masterfully balanced it's absurd.
Nose: Figs, cherries, and baked apple pie with cinnamon. Other mild spices are there. It's interesting, complex, and has a very well rounded nose with a bit of everything you'd want from a sherried 15 year old.
Taste: Honey, mild spices, and I really get cherries and other wild berry flavours. Having read the other reviews for this dram, I feel reluctant to follow the crowd on this one, but yeah, Christmas cake. Incredibly smooth without being creamy. It's just... balanced.
I love this whisky because it's exactly what you'd want and expect. I have a hard time imagining anyone being outright disappointed by this dram. When I drink this, two things occur to me.
One; this distillery (the 15 year old bottling in particular) has achieved a level of balance that other distilleries could only dream of.
Two; it's almost too balanced.
All of the flavours dance around each other so seamlessly that I find myself searching for something distinctive about it. Perhaps the prominent berries? Perhaps the Christmas cake flavours? It's incredibly flavourful but not incredibly distinctive because the distillers have done almost TOO good a job at finding the perfect balance. How cynical of me to seek out flaws in (near) perfection. Fantastic sherried bliss. If you want balance, look here.
Sidenote: Too much water seriously tames this whisky. Add a couple drops less than you would to other whiskies at 46%.