This is, to my knowledge, my first re-review of a whisky from a single production line. Not only is it from the same batch, but also from the same bottle. I originally tried this in June 2014 and though it tasted good, it was either not what I expected, or my palate was not ready for this. I scored it in the high 70s. Here is a link to my original review:
The thing is, everyone I poured it for liked it a lot more than that. And @talexander was kind enough to “take one for the team” and reviewed it a year and a half later:
Over the years I’ve gone back to this bottle infrequently, and I’ve enjoyed it more and more each time. So much so, that I began to wish I had another bottle of it (not bad for a 77!). As luck would have it, @nosebleed was able to find another bottle of this exclusive COOP bottling and I was able to bring it home over the holidays.
This was bottled in 2012 for COOP liquor stores. I opened it in June 2014. It has been gassed after each use. I decanted it into a 240 cc bottle in July 2016, and this smaller container is about half full (so this is the bottom sixth of the bottle.
This expression is reviewed in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.
There is freshness to the nose. Obvious sherry influence. Syrupy. Dark, dried fruits, some cherry and raisin notes. A definite savoury, umami note. Worn leather. Rich, inviting nose. Water has no tangible effect on the nose.
Hot and spirity on the first sip, but also sweet and fruity. Rich. Some pepper and spice. Sweet and savoury intermingling. Quite pleasant. Water tames the spirit slightly, the sweetness and fruits are more prominent. (23/25)
Prune, a little pepper and some oak tannins. Slightly sweeter with water. (22/25)
The sweet and savoury and umami integrate well in this expression. Great balance.
Score: Neat - 87.5 /100 With Water: 89/100
I am truly surprised and humbled by this whisky. I find it very difficult to believe that over 3 ½ years it would have improved so much. My conclusion is that it’s not the whisky that has changed. I think it’s a combination of my preconceptions (which I have tried to discard) and a more mature palate.
In 2014, $100 for an untested malt would have been a bit of a stretch. In 2018, for a CS IB bottle of a premiumized brand, I would consider it a steal. I’m glad I now have the spare bottle tucked away. There may be one or 2 more bottles scattered around Calgary. This comes (now) highly recommended.