This is last year's Pike Creek special release, finished in Oloroso sherry casks during its 21 years of maturation. 4,410 bottles were released.
The colour is a shimmery gold. On the nose the sherry influence is subtle: earthy with golden raisin and milk chocolate, while also showing graham cracker, custard and caramel sauce (imagine a boozy cheesecake). Buttered pastry. Water brings out an herb basket. The nose is sweet to the point of almost being cloying, but thankfully it doesn't get quite that far.
The palate is more sherried than the nose - a bit too much. Red grape, blueberry compote, cinnamon and overripe banana. Seems kind of hot - and even hotter with water. Syrupy mouthfeel. The sweetness is a bit too much here, but it has complexity.
The finish is chalky and a bit rough, with dates, cloves and a cloying sticky sweetness. Pike Creek has always been my least favourite of the Northern Border Collection and this one has the same flaws as the standard bottling - very sweet and without balance. I have a bit of last year's special release (21yo finished in European oak casks) - also not great but the tighter oak grain balances out the sweetness nicely. Next to the standard 10yo rum finish, it is dryer and less sweet than that confection; all are in the same wheelhouse, which unfortunately is not one I am a huge fan of.