If you're expecting a slight variation on the regular Writer's Tears blend, think again. This is a single malt, not a malt/pot still blend, matured entirely in Oloroso casks. Really not much in common with the standard bottling at all.
Hot and sweet on the nose, full of fresh and stewed fruits. Plums and grapes certainly, but also some bright orange notes. A zingy note of fresh-cut wood underneath.
The palate is light in body but big in flavour. Quite a lot of heat from the alcohol too. Seems rather young, but the clean malt sweetness is backed up a lovely coating of dry sherry flavours. My first sip, I immediately thought of Bushmill's single malt (not a specific one, just the general character).
With a bit of water, this whiskey really comes to life. The grapiness on the nose thickens and intensifies, reminding me of some of my favourite Scotch. In particular, I'm thinking of Aberlour 16 year old double matured. You really want to just leave your nose in the glass: citrus peel, cherries, cinnamon. Liquid Christmas cake, I suppose.
The transformation with water on the palate is somewhat less dramatic. The whiskey finishes gently with dry sherry notes and lingering spice, nothing too bitter or sulfurous going on here.
Even at 46% ABV, this whiskey comes across a bit thin. Perhaps it's the lack of maturity combined with triple-distillation. Some fans of Writer's Tears might miss the characteristic single pot still bite, but in any case the cask selection has done justice to this style of spirit and the result, while maybe a bit one-dimensional, is supremely tasty and sippable. I won't be putting this in an Irish coffee any time soon.