This was the second sample I tasted in the blind trio provided by @cricklewood It was the one I guessed correctly (sort of). The tastings were done from a Highland Whisky glass.
Tasting notes (neat and blind)
- Nose: farmy, like wet hay, a touch of peat, bright and high-pitched, sour green apples, some caramel, eucalyptus
- Palate: sweet on arrival, becoming a bit hot, slightly chalky (reminiscent of Kilkerran or Talisker), peat, black pepper, vanilla
- Finish: long, becoming sweet with vanilla, a touch of smoke, some minerality (I believe @RianC used the term flinty in our discussions and it is an apt descriptor), a herbal note lingering, and after awhile the sour green apple note comes back.
- Score (neat): 90/100
Tasting notes (with water, blind)
- Nose: adding water brings a rush of vanilla forward. The sour green apple starts to take over a bit, yet the herbal note still hangs around.
- Palate: sweetness, slightly chalky, black pepper, vanilla
- Finish: long, now there's chocolate and a bit of chili powder joining the party
- Score (with water): 89/100
This was an absolutely fascinating whisky, quite different from what I'm used to. My initial thought was Unpeated CS Caol Ila because the peat and smoke were subtle, and even unpeated Caol Ila seems to carry some peat and smokiness. Unpeated Caol Ila also has that sour green apple note lingering on the finish to me. However, I've never experienced what I describe as pleasant chalkiness in Caol Ila, but I have found that note in Kilkerran and in Talisker. After thinking about it for awhile, I guessed Kilkerran.
- Would I accept a glass of this if it was offered? Yes
- Would I order this in a bar or pub? Unlikely. I don't think it would be cheap and it's too complex to properly enjoy in an unfocused environment.
- Would I buy a bottle? Yes
Thanks again to @cricklewood for his generosity.