A sample of this NAS cask strength Macallan (at 60.1% ABV) was part of a very generous birthday gift from @paddockjudge.
The colour is one of the deepest and reddest I have ever seen in a whisky - almost like cola. On the nose we have black cherries, charred oak, Angostura bitters, buttermilk and dark cocoa. Blackberries, dates and plums. Walnut. Smoked paprika. Water explodes the cask even more with big fat oak, sherry and spice. A little closed, and yes the cask dominates the malt, but satisfyingly rich.
Hot on the palate with huge oak, more spices (smoked paprika again but also cayenne and cumin) and very dark fruits (dates, prunes, sultanas). Creamy. Very herbal with mint, fennel and thyme. Extremely rich Oloroso here. Amazingly, the cask is more balanced with the malt here on the palate than on the nose, especially with water.
The finish is oaky with more Angostura bitters, chili spices and very dark chocolate. If you love your sherry bombs, then by God look no further. Although the light fruity malt that is Macallan is missed here, you can't beat this sherry cask, which (like the Double Cask 12 Year Old) shows no trace of sulphur. Surprisingly, this never feels like it's 60.1% ABV. Highly recommended if you can find it!
This is truly an excellent expression, and I'm glad I picked up a couple before they were gone. If not for @paddockjudge in 2014 I could have had 6 more, but then again, if not for him, I'd never have tried it or looked for them.
Although I've expanded my horizons a lot since I started, sherry bombs were my first love in whisky. Though I have lots of Bladnoch and A'Bunadh, this one has some sort of prune note or other dried dark fruit that I've only found in Macallan CS.