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Maple nose with cloves, cinnamon, raisins, butter brickle. The taste broadens into dark swirl rye, challah, honey butter, maple, typical bourbony maraschino cherries, taffee, vanilla, tapioca. Finish is very long and luxurious with plenty of wood, sharp alcohol fire in the nose, caramel, sharper sweets and corn syrup.
This bourbon is a strong devil. The alcohol took my breath away (literally) and made me gasp. That's rare for me. I drink scotches with as much ABV and don't experience that "whoooey!" that actually is almost painful, like the way my prettiest girlfriends were usually also the most cruel hearted, almost in a sadistic way. I guess I will never know if I was attracted to their beautiful torturously mean personalities, or just their beauty and charisma that were both admittedly out of my league and hence fleeting. I still think about a few of those terrible beauties from my past, but I rarely remember how much pain they caused. Instead, I think of the fun times. Likewise with this bourbon, I just want to taste it again even though at the time it made me wince and gasp for oxygen!
Water really smoothed out the glass, but took away some of the fiery magic. I would say that four or five drops is the most I would use, even with the high ABV because the flavors get muted. Yes, I know some of the better respected experts might disagree. Oh well. I'm entitled to my opinion, I guess. Over the past five years, I've probably tasted nearly a hundred different whiskies, so I'm not exactly a slacker, myself ; )