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I'd been quietly eyeing this one up for a while. My experiences with the 10 have been OK, decent etc but it never grabbed the way it seems to do with others - always happy to try again though . . . With that in mind, a birthday request was fulfilled and here we are.
This seems to get pretty solidly high marks across the board but the web shows that batch variation may be a slight issue. I can only assess and enjoy what's in front of me so here goes. Bottle half full and been open about one month. This is from a neat pour.
Nose: Elegant and powerful. Seaweed, rocky beach at low tide, chewy caramel toffee, lots of oak wood and spice: baker's ginger, a little clove, some pepper, hints of nutmeg and cinnamon. Peat and smoke lie under the nose rather than on top of it, if that makes any sense? Water opens it up and brings out some sweet fruity influence and more toffee but reduces the palette too much for my liking.
Taste: Sweet as it arrives with the toffee muscling it's way forward then smoke and lots of mixed baking spice. Something like chocolate and coffee develops but it's quite hard to pin down - it's not that it changes, more that it is very well integrated and complex. Excellent full mouth feel; really coats one's palette.
Finish: Long, rather peppery and a lovely liquorice sweet peat that hangs around for a while; eventually going a little sour and drying. No 'bitter wood' here. Warming and comforting.
@Victor has described this as a sunset whisky and I think I know what he means! It's got pretty much all I'd want in a whisky (maybe just a touch more 'funk'?!); every sip is a joy, to be honest. One of the best I've had with possibly the finest finish - it's a real shame this is at the upper end of what I could justify spending on a whisky. This may become an annual Christmas or Birthday 'purchase' though.