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This is the first bottle I bought. I'm a novice, but I'm currently feeding a small obsession with scotch. Before ever tasting a dram, I read many many articles (online and offline) about the subject and became quite intrigued. I knew that if I developed a scotch habit, it would be a costly one, and one I would have to be patient with. I went to a tasting in a very notable scotch bar here in NYC. I tried about 6 drams there. None that I could justifiably spend money on as my first bottle. After about 2 hours in PJ wine and liquor in Inwood, (and reading many articles) I decided this was the scotch for me.
Pre dilution Nose: gentle smoke, five spice, salt, dark cherries Flavor: wood smoke, vanilla on the finish. Full bodied, and very slighly sweet on the finish, but a saltiness that creeps up. The smoke reminds you of its presence and beckons you to not forget that its there.
Diluted: Nose: sweet, August spice, Late summer squash, sweet potatoes, dark chocolate covered cherries Flavor: molasses, or burnt honey, grainy (blistered corn). Salty presence, pleasantly aggressive on the tongue (asserts its presence when welcome in a rounded tongue). Spicy finish (hints of cinnamon, clove). Medium finish. The smoke is muted a bit after dilution and the salt is prominent.
Season: It's probably best to have this dram when its not super hot outside. I'd say early fall to early winter.
Food pairing: App: goat cheese brulee, bacon crumble Main: Chili. enough said. Dessert: Honey sorbet, banana brulee (there goes that again)