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Distribution of ratings for this:
APPEARANCE: Gorgeous, light yellow chartreuse. Lively and translucent. A pleasure to contemplate.
BODY: Medium bodied. Oily.
NOSE: Peaty, light smoke, hints of cream and honey. Not floral. Strong young spirit and dry, salty tobacco notes.
ON THE PALATE: The arrival is strong and sweet, giving way to peat and smoke. Development is smoky peat giving way to alcohol, the raw spirit taking over. The finish is long and smoky. Drying, strong spirit, with tobacco, salty and a hint of pepper.
WITH WATER, the raw spirit mellows out, the peat comes right to the fore, and the sweet honey notes fade to the background. I definitely prefer this at 56.1% ABV.
SUMMARY: A strong, peaty, oily dram. Gorgeous to look at, simple yet satisfying. Peaty, light smoke and saltiness, dueling with the strong young spirit and light honey notes, turning into a long smoky tobaccoey finish.
I’m not sure there’d be enough complexity at this age if the whisky were bottled at 40-43%. Probably the cask strength saves this dram. Some citrus notes, for example, would benefit it and provide a balance to the peat. According to some reviews I’ve seen, some earlier bottlings apparently had those citrus notes. But as it is, for those of us who like a strong, young peaty spirit, this should satisfy.
This is one of my favorite drams. I prefer it to the Laga 16, which to me has all the same qualities as the mighty Distillers Edition, just not in the right balance.
VALUE: In these days of the frothy scotch market, this whisky is certainly overpriced at $100. My personal feeling is that all single malts are currently overpriced by 2 or 3 times what they should be selling at. But now I’m just dreaming aloud . . . .