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This bottle is not a regular in my cabinet, but once every year and a half or so, I'll get a bottle on a whim and be reminded of how good it is.
This whisky is not chill filtered and probably doesn't use caramel either, altough there's no mention of it anywhere on the bottle. This is the new bottling with the boat the top of the label instead of the middle.
Nose: Fresh hay and straw, old leather, assorted roasted and sweet nuts, dry honey, yeast, seaweed and a touch of very civil peat at the end. Adding a drop of water seems to bring a fleeting cherry pie aroma and a general sweetness to round up the nose. I prefer this whisky's nose with a single drop of water. Subtle, but complex.
Palate: Round with a pleasant slightly underripe banana sweetness (the kind of sweetness you get when they are yellow but still have green at the ends). The grain is more apparent with subtle cereal notes which turn into more torrefied aromas of moka and spices the longer the whisky sits in the mouth. The peat and leather are absent on the palate. This is medium bodied and very, very, very approachable while not being boring. Feels younger and livelier than the nose.
Finish: Medium-short and not too muddled for a blended scotch. I get more underripe bananas and spices along with pepper, honey and more moka. A slight herbal bitterness develops several seconds after the last sip. Not unpleasant at all, in fact, it invites another sip !
This is a very good blend in my opinion, one that is often overlooked and one that is made expressly to be enjoyed neat. There's no age statement, probably because some young and old whisky grain and malts are blended, but the old whiskies they use are probably of a very decent age. Highly recommended.
A NOTE ON MY SCORING: 60-: Will try to turn it down for a beer or cocktail if offered for free. 61-70: Would not buy, decent enough, mixing material or apparent flaws. 71-80: Will buy a dram and enjoy, maybe not a bottle though. Minor flaws or boring. 81-90: Very enjoyable. A must try if not a must have. 91+: Would be a must have, but rarity/price is probably an obstacle to this. Reserved for excellent bottles.