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We sampled this bottle on the 14th of November 2012. Although it was harsh at first and had very divided opinions, it is actually a very pleasant dram. As with all cask strength whiskies, it improves with a dash of water.
Colour: Full gold, rose gold.
Nose: Very strong kick with a medicinal streak, Oaky and fruity. Hint of peat. Citrus zest. A drop of water smoothes it out and releases caramel and honey, sweet wines and raisins.
Body: Smooth, full and warming.
Palate: Very strong oak, can definitely taste the barrel. Tingles the tongue. But very sweet, apples and apricots. Water actually brings out more oak, but other citrus flavours which help to soften it. Honey and treacle. With hints of pepper and spice. Almonds.
Finish: Long, very long. Warms and tingles. More autumn fruits, aswell as hawthorn leaves. More spices, nutmeg. Water improves the spice and brings out notes of rum and raisin, crystalized ginger and even tobacco hints.
It's a very complex whisky, and once you get past the kick and rush of alcohol, it's very nice. Needs the splash of water, and requires a bit of work getting the exact amount right, but once you do all of that work is worth it. Nice Christmassy dram.