This bottle was opened 5-7-2012. There is currently 4 fingers left.
This is a bottle I picked up thanks to @rwbenjey. He clued me into a store in the Nashville area selling this as a close out. I think it cost around $75 for a 25 year old single malt (fantastic age for money ratio). The question is . . . is this worth it?
Nose: Rich ripe dark fruits greet the nose: plumbs, strawberries, concord grapes, raspberries, dates, prunes, and pomegranates. There is certainly a sherry influence here., and also a strong sense of apple cider. There is an interesting back and forth between the sweet and sour fruit notes. You start with the sour grapes and prunes, but you also have that sweet flavor associated with dark fruits like grapes, and plumbs. Oh, ya that is Concord grapes from my mom’s back yard. There is plenty of malt here as well. It also smells like a pez dispenser . . . Now sour notes of lemons, but then right back to the malt. There is prune juice and maybe a hint of cran-pomegranate. Now I’m getting those chocolate covered raisin candies. With water way more of the fruit is coming out.
Taste: Sweet berries of all types and varieties – but mostly the red and purple kind. Now maybe some kiwi? Or pineapple? Definitely some citrus. It is doing the sweet and then sour thing very nicely. It is like sour lemons saved from going to far by dark fruits that bring you back just shy of being too sour. There is also a bit of malt and grass.
Finish: There is an intake of breath and here comes a gentle wave of malt and fruit. A slight pop of grapes and then it slowly fades to all those notes on the nose: raisins, sour grapes, prunes, pez, Concord grapes, lemons, pomegranates, etc. Not a bad fade for a 25yo. I’m impressed even if the finish “wave” was small. It was the complexity in harmony with the nose that I enjoy.
Complexity, Balance: I’ll give it some points for complexity. There is a depth of complexity to the nose and taste. It really evokes tons of fruits both sweet and sour. And that sweet/sour dance really makes things balanced if not all that exciting. It is certainly a decent expression of what an older single malt can do. While it does tend to err on the sour side there are still those complex dark sweet fruits to pull it back.
Aesthetic experience: I hate this bottle. The red color is horrible. The lettering is horrible. It actually looks really cheap. The only thing I like is the age statement and the bottle shape. I guess it could be way worse at 40%. Still . . . I like the redesigned package better. The price was good . . . but that is only because it was on clearance. = 2.5
Conclusion: I think you would be hard pressed to guess this as a 25 year old malt. It does seem younger then 20 years. My sense is that the cask involvement was minimal. It was a fun experience, but I wouldn’t buy it again . . . even on sale.