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This bottle was an interesting experience for me. I picked it up a year ago when it was on sale ridiculously cheap. I'd heard great things from friends and online, so I didn't hesitate to pick it up. Imagine my surprise when I tried it, and all I tasted was a sickly syrupy sweetness and harsh alcohol without much else going on. Well, I hadn't spent a lot on the bottle, so I was just a bit disappointed that this whiskey that everyone else had told me was great, was a huge let-down for me.
Anyway, once in a while I'd try another dram, even mixing up some old-fashioneds, but it always just had too much full-on sweetness to be enjoyable. After half a year (and half the bottle), I resigned to banishing it to the back of the cupboard and using it for cooking someday. In the end it actually made a really nice Bourbon BBQ Sauce! Then, when there were only a couple of drams left in the bottle I decided to give it a last chance, mainly to compare it with the Elijah Craig 12 which I've been loving over the last few weeks. Another surprise: it tasted good! Not as good as the Elijah Craig, but definitely enjoyable and nothing like what I remembered. Now, this bottle had been sitting with only a small amount left, in warm weather, for a few months. I wonder if some of those harsh alcohol flavours evaporated and the sickly sweetness mellowed due to this. Or did my perception of bourbon change since enjoying the Elijah Craig so much? Who knows, but it was certainly an eye-opener!
Here are my notes(from the final tasting!):
Nose: Custard, charred oak, stewed apples. Toasted almonds, coconut. Ripe bananas.
Palate: Sweet, light fruitiness. Bakewell tart. Maple syrup, bittersweet oakiness. Maybe some bitter almond?
Finish: Brown sugar, dried apple, nutmeg. Sweet oaky vanilla.
In summary, quite a sweet bourbon with ripe fruits and maple syrup featuring more than oak or spice.