I’ve avoided this whisky. Not sure why. Maybe because as a bird, I mentally put it in the same category as Famous Grouse, and decided it was mediocre. Maybe because compared to other whiskies it’s fairly inexpensive. After a few years of hearing about this whisky, and with a few positive comments on Connosr, I took the plunge. The price went up 1-2 days later. It was only after I bought it that I realized I had a sample from @paddockjudge, so I decided to try it to see if I should keep my bottle. It was good enough that I was keen to try the bottle, and I opened this 2 days ago. I decided to review it tonight and try it H2H with the sample bottle.
This expression, in Kentucky Bourbon Glasses, is reviewed in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.
Powerful nose. Brown sugar, big vanilla, caramel. Some cherry. After a while a touch of menthol. Not too layered but bold and pleasant.
When I uncovered the sample and sniffed it, I was reminded of going into my favourite BBQ pork take-out place. Not the pork, but the BBQ duck. There is a hint of the duck fat and sauce (sweet and fruity). Otherwise, the two noses are essentially identical.
With water there isn’t much change. Maybe it’s a little softer on the nose, but not so much with the sample glass.
Powerful arrival. Dry, spicy. Lots of vanilla, some caramel. Not very complex, but tasty. The sample is a slight touch sweeter.
Water makes it a lot more peppery, bitter. The oak tannins come forward. (20.5/25)
Dry. Hints of vanilla. Very astringent, oaky. With water, oaky with, with caramel, very drying. (21/25)
Kind of a one trick pony, but the nose and palate complement each other very nicely
Score: Neat - 87.5/100 With Water: 85.5/100
Mixing the two together after adding water didn’t change the outcome much but maybe lessened the bitterness a little.
It’s interesting, tonight I found the whisky a little hotter than on the other times I’ve tried it. I might be having an off-night. Also, the other times I was interrupted a few times, so time in the glass was over an hour, and I think this one benefits from air. I suspect that @paddockjudge’s sample came from a bottle that had had some air time, and there’s a good chance it may be from the same batch.
I read a rumour somewhere that this one was going to go up in price (already went up almost 5 dollars from hen I bought it at the KGBO on October 11), or may be discontinued. I could be completely wrong. But over the next few days I’m going to to decide whether to pick up another bottle (my BIL can get a different batch in Calgary for $45 pls 5% tax), and I’m leaning toward yes.
Thanks @paddockjudge for giving me that sample so long ago so I could make the comparison part of my review.