This little number is basically the cask strength version of the standard Triple Wood: ex-bourbon barrels, quarter casks and European Oloroso casks. Non-chill filtered. Oh, and on the label it says "We recommend that you add twice as much water as whisky to full appreciate the characteristics of whisky at cask strength." Yeah sure, you go ahead and do that.
The colour is a reddish amber - oloroso has such a huge effect! Quite fruity on the nose with baked apples, dates, plums and earthy peat smoke. Hint of lime. Fair amount of oak. Smells meaty and dirty! But don't add water - like the last one, it does nothing but dial it down. The cask overtakes the spirit to some degree but that sooty aroma is well featured.
Just as dirty on the palate with overripe plums, massive smoke, prosciutto, burnt caramel and lovely umami. Mouth-puckering like the 2018 Cairdeas. Thick and juicy - spicier with water. Good n' dirty like the nose.This is stunning - the hallway to the bathroom at Studio 54 in 1978 is sitting in my mouth right now.
The long finish is ashen, oaky and dusted with black pepper. Far less elegant than the 2018 edition, it's a wonderful mess of soot, smoke, meat and fruit. Side by side, it digs the grave of my beloved 10 Year Old. And next to the 2018 Fino, there is more power, more gas, more exhaust. Burning rubber, baby! #12 in Whisky Advocate's Top Whiskies of 2019.