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On the Nose: Being 116.4 proof, the nose is a bit frustrated by the intense alcohol wafting from the glass! After a few whiffs, the aromas really start to come out. Definitely the strongest aroma is sherry, mixed with caramel. Hints of spice come out as well, but are subdued by the big sherry. It smells wonderful, enveloping my nostrils with fruit and nectar, perhaps baked cinnamon apples!?
On the Tongue: Full and rich, coating the palate with warmth. The spice is present from the start, with sweetness coming out from the sides of the mouth. Roll this big whisky around and discover the subtleties. Frankly, tasting this monster neat is going to hide most of its richness.
To experience the caramel, you really have to put it on ice. Not only that, but watching this non-chill filtered whisky interact with an ice cube is entertaining in itself. Hold it up to the light and watch strings falling from the cube, creating a haze in the glass. The chilled whisky hits your tongue much differently than when tasted warm and neat. The sweetness gets bigger, with intense caramel flavors coming out the longer you hold it in your mouth!
This is my favorite whisky, and I love to enjoy it neat, or with a single cube of ice.
The Finish: The finish brings out the sherry, and the proof rating lets itself be known in the LONG finish. Very pleasant for such a big whisky! Hints of oak, but that is mostly drowned out by the spice that kicks the sides of the mouth, and the smell of sherry as it rises into the nostrils.