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This is the ultra premium expression from the Blue Label range. Only 330 bottles are available from the current batch.
Nose: Starting on light smoke with a slightly mossy - vaguely metallic - note it develops with figs & raisins building with orange peel (peel which has been left for a day to dry out), a hint of walnut and some furniture polish.
Approaching for a second time the fruit becomes more pronounced with tangerine and more nuts. A very complex and promising start.
Palate: Balanced and integrated but somehow slightly disappointing at first, especially following the nose.
Interesting to note that the palate really develops with every sip. The flavours are subtle and take time to reveal themselves fully but - just as a slow cooked ragu becomes more intense with time and further mouthfuls - the flavours here become more pronounced with each intake. Initially tangerine and nuts but by my third sip some delicate smoke joins along with more zesty citrus notes. Finally some waxy flavours and then apricots and a hint of honey.
Finish: Perhaps not completely unexpectedly given the subtlety of the palate, the finish is fairly short, but still a little shorter than I'd hoped. At first drying out before a final wave of fruit returns.
Comments: Sophisticated & understated. Complex but integrated and subtle rather than vibrant or challenging. Extremely drinkable if a little unexciting. The nose promises more than the palate ultimately delivers and the finish is shorter than the palate suggests.
Considering the price - £2,000 a bottle - you do have to ask does it represent value for money? But then, if value for money is a factor in your purchasing decisions, you're probably not in the market for this anyway. Does a £4,000 Swiss watch represent value for money? Or a Bentley? No. Do they make you feel good or give you status? Yes.
This I feel is a lifestyle drink for people who can afford it. Personally I enjoyed the regular Blue Label more - which is just as well because that is only £120 a bottle!