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Disappointment from the top! Popping the cork I find grimy cork scum all around the inside of the bottle from contact during storage. I carefully get a damp tissue and wipe it clean. I note that each time I remove the cork it splits around the centre - the pressure exposes a crack up to 3mm wide. This cork is on the way to death, and risks contaminating my bottle. I am unsure who is responsible for this – is it a cheap low quality cork? Or more I suspect is this: I've noticed the retailer I bought this bottle from has bottles laying down. I saw a Laphroaig 18 yr laying down behind a glass cabinet, and it's been like that for at least two months. As a courtesy I mentioned this to the retailer who was not interested in my comments.
Onto the whisky itself:
Nose - Salty sea spray, citrus fruits, lemon tart, honey, toffee, gentle peat lingers in the background
Taste - Salt! Lot's of salt. I just dived into the surf and got a mouthful of sea water in my mouth. Peat on the back of the tongue and subdued honey doesn't match the nose. Salty caramel. Oily and thick.
Finish - Medium finish with peat on the back of the tongue, the peat rolls forward slowly towards the centre of the tongue. When the finish is over all I can taste is salt. I lick my lips and get more salt. You need water with this dram, not to add to the whisky, but to quench your thirst from the saltiness. To the Star Trek fans: the M-113 creature could live off this stuff.
Despite the strong consistency of saltiness, I feel there is a degree of unbalance to the point of it being a contrast. What the nose primarily offers (honey) does not come up front with the taste (salt) and finish (peat). I love a complicated dram, but these seem to be in conflict.
Epilogue - I'd written this review before I finished the bottle. Sadly the cork gave way when I was a third of the way through it and tore in half. It plugged up the bottle. I had to plunge it into the remaining whisky and then strain the flotsam and jetsam from my salty elixir into a decanter bottle.