I bought this bottle because it had been consistenty rated in the Connosr Top 10 at that time. The reviewed bottle has been open for approximately 15 months. Ratings are for the current bottle with comments on its evolution
Nose: moderate-to-strong peat, some smoke, with strong sherry wine flavours, and a little brine and medicinal flavour added in. This is a nose very balanced in its flavours. The nose became a little stronger and more differentiated after the bottle had been open for approximately 12 months. Very enjoyable
Taste: delicious sweet wine flavours which just melt right into the sweet malt and sweet peat flavours. A good translation of flavours from the nose. Silky and smooth. A real treat. Now the disclaimer: for the first 12 months this bottle was open, I had to agree completely with Jim Murray that the sherry and the peat fought with each other rather than either harmonised with or complemented each other. For 12 months this whisky would only have rated for me about 84, or slightly higher. Now it is a minor feast
Finish: the beautiful character stays through the finish, now...no loss of any of the important elements for a long period. Previously this finished abruptly, with slight discord, and no fanfare
Balance: what to say? This screams of the need to note how whiskies change over time with some oxygen exposure. This was "ok, but overrated" as a new bottle, but is sensational as an oxidised bottle. My advise with any whisky not quite to your liking at first is to give it some time and see how it develops. Sometimes the time required is substantial, such as a year...
(3 pts are deducted from the Balance Score for having to wait for this for a year)