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When Fine Drams was offering world-wide free shipping last July I went to their website and did some browsing. When I searched “Cask Strength” this one came up and, being very reasonably priced, I hit on the perfect gift for my campaign manager as a thank you for his work to come in the election. I actually ordered 2 bottles, one of the 2013 and one 2014 batch as they were both bottled at 53%. They were shipped to Florida and in a tragic twist my friend put them into storage and brought over OGD 114 instead. Knowing how much my friend liked the standard WT, I went back to the website and ordered 2 more bottles and a sample (no sense in paying shipping for just one bottle). This time I ordered the 2012 and 2013, and when they arrived safely during the campaign I gave my friend the 2013 (as I will eventually get mine), so I will be able to taste all three eventually.
This is a NAS whisky.
This bottle was opened with friends at the Ontario summit 5 days ago, is 2 thirds full and was “gassed” after opening. It is reviewed in my usual matter, smelling and tasting neat (after time in the glass) followed by the addition of water and more time in the glass.
Neat- Dense and rich. Fruity, sweet, like the syrup in canned fruit cocktail. I get some tropical fruits like pineapple. Some apple. Hint of fresh strawberry in the background. 22/25
With water- very strong nose. Similar profile but green apples are more prominent. With a little more I get some varathane varnish, in a good way. The richness of the nose is increased with a second addition of water. (22/25)
Neat – sweet, spirit. Fruit in the background. A bit rough. Settles a bit with time and becomes more fruity. Not complex but quite nice. 22/25
With water- even a few drops, the rough edges are smoothed a little. Sweet, malty? Even more water transforms (22/25)
Finish is a little bitter, dry and astringent. 20/25. With water it is sweeter with some sour elements and lasts a little longer (21/25)
Balance – Not very complex, the nose a little more than the palate. They work well together though. 21/25
Score: Neat – 85/100 With Water – 86/100
I had high expectations when approaching this, after my positive experience with the Redbreast 12 YO CS. This is good, but nowhere near that good. I suspect that this is a younger whiskey, and a couple more years in good wood could transform this into something worth around 90.