I received a number of mystery samples during a swap with a friend, this was one of them, the first half of the sample was tasted blind without any prior knowledge of what type of whisky I was having, the other half was consumed a day later after the reveal.
I think most of the lore around this whisky has been covered by others more eloquent than I (@odysseusunbound and @casualtorture mosty recently). Like many Buffalo Trace expressions, this has gone from generally available to foaming at the mouth frenzy...
Nose: Plum, brown sugar, well integrated oak, really present woody cinnamon & cloves. There's lots of fresh stone fruits and berries (raspberries even) & cotton candy.The one fault is that I felt it was slightly varnishy before it got some air.
Palate: A bit astringent on entry, grassy, loads of sweet cherry and cherry cough syrup, brown sugar and this persistent licorice root note,medicinal note.
Finish: Thin texture, all on glacee fruits (candied pineapple, cherries, lemons), bitter wood & lemon pith.
Notes: The nose of this bourbon is extraordinary, a true joy, balanced almost cognac like, I could have nosed it forever. Sadly it goes downhill with the palate, it really leans in on these cherry cough syrup vibe, it’s pulled up slightly by the fruits mid palate but the bitter oak dashes any hope of things getting better.
The samples was poured from a bottle 3/4 full but that had been opened for about a year. I know many say this gets better after lots of airtime, if so it’s going to be one heck of a second act when it does. I will likely get flack or raised eyebrows for such a low score but the dissonance between the nose and palate leaves me with little choice, every time I think of the 90 point nose, I think back to the awful bitter yet thin textured palate, I can't give this a higher score in it's current state.
My initial review gave a score of about 70/100 when I first tasted this. And I noted the awful NyQuil/Buckley’s cough syrup note that marred the latter half of the palate/development and the finish. This got much better after about 18-20 months of air. As long as you’re consistent with your reviews, everyone here respects differences of opinion. Heck, I scored Macallan 12 Sherry Oak an 82/100 and I haven’t been kicked off the site, so I think you’re safe.
Don't apologize for your score. You like what you like.
I long ago gave up worrying what others would think of my reviews, as they are an honest representation of what I tasted. Don't become DDK...