Nose: Old leather, precious wood, dry sherry, pipe tobacco, Cuban cigars (in truth, a whole humidor), cedar wood, cough syrup, plum jam, very old Armagnac, a little tar, even whiffs of engine oil… What an amazing complexity!
With water: It’s got everything an old sherried wonder can have. Spectacular whiffs of aniseed and dill, a little more beefy notes, absolutely no sulphur whatsoever. Enough said.
Mouth (neat): Unexpectedly nervous, with a big but beautiful oakiness (typical notes of pine resin than one can find in very, very old whiskies), a lot of walnut liqueur, bitter chocolate, cherry stem tea, chewing tobacco, heavy liquorice, prunes, green tea from the oak, blackcurrant leaves tea…
With water: I’m speechless. One of these very old pu-erh teas (yes, I know pu-erh is Chinese, not Japanese).
Finish: Very long, superbly dry (coffee) and spicy (cloves) as well as beautifully raisiny. Some menthol.
Comments: Once again, this baby reminds me of some old Springbanks. Say of the best sherried ‘Local Barleys’, if that rings a bell to you. A Japanese masterpiece. SGP:473 - 95 points
Nose: Like walking into a high-end cigar store. Magnificent notes of pipe tobacco and cigars. Lots of polished oak, a few hints of solvents even. Amontillado sherry. Menthol. Musty earth. Fermented Pu-erh tea. Leather. It needs a bit of breathing, but it’s superbly complex, with an amazingly fresh side as well (whiffs of raspberry jam, strawberries and plums). Also a soft vanilla coating that I didn’t expect in a heavy sherry bottling. None of the matchsticks of the 1976/1977 releases though. Anyway you can really get lost in such a nose.
Mouth: Very powerful, dry and oaky at first (without being too resinous or tannic). Dark chocolate. Roasted coffee beans. Mint. Tobacco again. Toasted bread with dark forest fruits marmalade.
Finish: Very long, chocolaty with spicy dry oak.
No need for an elaborate conclusion… My favourite release of last year. Dark sherry maturation doesn’t get much better than this (unless you add some peat maybe?).