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I received this bottle as a gift from my best friend (note: the "best" was there before the gift). Because of this, I think it'll be easier for me to review this whisky on quality alone, without factoring in the hefty price tag. Having said that, I understand the substantial amount of criticism out there about this whisky when taking the price into account.
Nose: Quite subtle. Floral sherry, juniper, butterscotch, pear, caramel apple. Honey and heather notes come out as it warms up. Takes a while to open up and reveal the sweet notes... early on the floral notes dominate.
Taste: Smooth and slow to develop. Honey, creamy Sonny Boy cereal (hopefully some Canadians out there get this reference), stewed apples and figs. Vanilla oak spice emerges and the mouth-feel gets dry.
Finish: Medium to short in length and a bit dusty. Dry grass, saltines and pepper. Little bit of smoke and flashes of... licorice rubber? Weak, honeyed tea and arrowroot biscuit at the end.
Summary: I understand why this whisky appeals to those who maybe aren't as avid and passionate explorers in the world of whisky aficionados. Along with the coffin-like packaging, it has a regal smoothness and balance that isn't challenging or particularly off-putting to particular tastes. Having a bottle on your shelf makes you feel like a bit of a hot shot... especially to the less discerning whisky drinker. From what I've read from critics this lack of character seems to be aficionados most common criticism. It's too... beige. In my experience, I put this whisky into a category with Dalwhinnie. Mostly forgettable but pleasant nonetheless.