On August 15, 2020, a small group of us had a Zoom Tasting of 4 mystery samples. We had received them from @Fiddich1980 and tried them earlier, and then we went through them together. 2 of the 4 samples were whiskies and this is the second of two reviews from that set.
While Highwest refuses to divulge the exact contents of this whisky, we know that it is a blend of bourbon, rye and a blended malt scotch. Rumours abound that this is Islay malt.
This expression is reviewed in a glencairn, in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.
First tasting Aug. 13, 2020
Mild nose, Sweet. Vegetal in background, but this dissipates with time.cinnamon, something savoury. Sweet, spicy and hot on first sip. Pepper. sour in development. Grape-y Finish menthol, pepper. Estimated ABV 43 %.. With water smother arrival, sweet and grapi-ness. Guess - this could be a brandy (or a blend).
Fruity, sweet, syrupy. In the background I get some baking spices. Sweet red apples. But also something sour, like gooseberries maybe? Many “high pitched” notes. Pleasant nose. Adding water brings forward the fruitiness and makes it appear richer. (21.5/25)
The entry is much drier than the nose suggests. I get a lot of oak. Some vanilla. Sweet and sour in the development. Maybe a hint of apple. Not too complex. A bit “rough” - an observation, not a judgement. Water thins the mouthfeel a little and sweetens the arrival. The development becomes a little more fruity, and the vanilla fades a little. (21/25)
Lots of pepper, slightly astringent. Water shortens the finish and makes it a little more sour, almost lemon or lime. Maybe a hint of peat. (20.5/25)
Not very complex. The nose and the palate are very different. The development carries this one. Definitely balances better with a little water. (21/25)
Score: Neat - 81/100 With Water: 84/100
I liked this one a lot more tonight than I did when I tried it the first time and at our zoom tasting. I’m sure I would have rated it 2-3 points lower then. After hearing what it was, I would have expected to smell or taste some peat, but if it’s there, it was well-hidden from me.
I would definitely accept a glass of this if offered, but notwithstanding my lack of storage space, I probably would not run out to buy this.
Thanks again @Fiddich1980!