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I'd heard so much about this whisky that I just had to try it. But, since it can be extremely pricey, I tried it at a whisky club together with its volume-reduced brother bottled at 46 ABV. I gave it plenty of time in the glass and so, here's my take on this cask strength sherry monster:
NOSE: very rich, concentrated dried fruit nose with lots of dates, figs and raisins all smothered in brown sugar syrup. There's also a big rum note here as well as some Pedro Ximenez sherry. Very big, bold and sweet with menthol in the background.That being said, it does have a lovely balance of aromas. With time and some water you also get tea notes, strawberry jam and some fresh berries as well. If you're a sherry bomb fan - this will not disappoint. 22/25
TASTE: it's nothing like the nose. When you drink it neat, it is overpowering, slightly harsh, dry with very little sweetness. It reminds me a lot of Mount Gay rum which is kinda sweet on the nose, but dry on the palate.When you add water to make it more accessible, it mellows down nicely, offering mineral notes, cola, overbrewed tea, bitter espresso, and bitter walnut. The more water you add to it, the more tannin-rich it becomes, showing more of that excessive oak influence which really throws the balance out of whack. 21/25
FINISH: also dry, warming, long with bitter walnuts. 20/25
BALANCE: it has a nicely balanced, pretty complex nose, but it really lacks that balance in flavor, in my opinion, being way too bitter. 19/25
OVERALL IMPRESSION: It's a good sherry bomb with some decent complexity, but, in my opinion, the oak influence was really way too aggressive here which didn't do this whisky any good. So, all things considered, it is not worth the price tag. If you're looking for a sherried whisky outside of Scotland, Amrut is the way to go. And it's cheaper too.
As for its younger brother bottled at 46% - that one had too much match stick sulfur on the nose, not as sweet, but much sweeter on the palate (surprisingly). However, just like its big brother, it became more bitter the more water I added to it, with some ginger spice to it as well. The finish was short and really uninspiring.