I am 100% a debater. This hobby has had a great influence on my approach to life. For instance, it helped me to thrash the former and current Finance Ministers of Canada in a three way debate in the last election (at least I and my mom think so), and it has allowed me to navigate the most difficult business meetings.
When I first got into whisky, the people I tasted with were mostly of this type and I kept notes, or minutes, of all the whiskies we tried. This has carried over to any whisky events that I attend or host, including the EPIC tasting on November 10 at my place.
In his haste to make an unfortunately early exit, @Astroke left not one, but two bottles at my place. After some private messages he implored me to keep them (this WILL be paid both forward and back), and I undertook to review them. This is the second bottle I am reviewing, but there will likely be more business arising..
This whisky was triple distilled at Springbank in June 2007 and bottled in October 2016. The spirit spent its first 6 years in first fill ex-bourbon casks and the last three in refill (not first fill) Barolo Hogsheads. There were, according to the label, 10 800 bottles produced at what would seem to be cask strength.
The bottle is 1/3 full. I don't know when it was opened or if it has ever been gassed.
This expression, poured in a Brilliant Highland whisky glass, is reviewed in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a capful (2-3 cc) of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.
Sweet fruits with an extra kick on first nosing. As it opens I get some darker fruits. Some warm spices. Nice rich nose Flawless but not extremely complex. Water brings out some honey sweetness and some higher pitched fruity notes, as well as a hint of Bazooka Joe bubblegum. Slightly more complex. (22.5/25)
First sip bitter arrival. Then peppery with sweet and sour. A little lemon pith You can really taste the wine cask in the development. The peppery bitterness, while not unpleasant, overwhelms the palate. No perceptible improvement with water.
Red wine, wood, astringent, a little bitterness. Wine burps. With water the finish becomes slightly more fruity and rounded.
The bitterness really makes this off-balance. Even a little “smoother” with water, it is still overwhelmingly bitter.
Score: Neat - 83.5 /100 With Water: 84/100
I think I liked this better at the tasting. I wonder if palate fatigue affects not only the ability to taste subtle complexities but some of the off-notes as well.
This tastes like a young, rough whisky. It’s not bad. After a few more sips I get “used” to it.
I wonder if this may be partly an issue with cask management. Maybe more time in the bourbon casks? Maybe if the Barolo casks were first fill but the finish was shorter?
But what do I know? I still consider myself a newbie when it comes to tasting and experiencing.
Thanks again @Astroke for this opportunity.