Nose: Sweet notes initially, with ripe apples and hay; then some medicinal peat, a lot of iodine and bandages. Next, some light caramel, then back to the phenols with some wet burnt wood. A little later, some appealing honey, vanilla fudge, marshmallows and orange blossom counterpointed with diluted TCP. If you can be patient, leave it ten minutes and a whole new set of aromas arise: red liquorice, homebaked apple pie and tropical fruits – melon, lychee, passionfruit, tinned peaches – come bursting out of the glass, along with icing sugar, smoked vanilla, cinnamon and dry turf. What’s not to like? A fantastic nose that really rewards serious attention and a bit of time to open up.
Palate: Very big at full strength. Sweet and hugely smoky initially - much more so than the nose suggests. Burnt wet wood and leafy bonfire smoke. Chewy wet peat. This first blast might lead you to think it’s one-dimensional – quite the reverse is true, but once more you have to be patient. By the third or fourth sip, once the palate has acclimatised to the peat, the sweet fruits start poking their way out onto the palate - tangy citrus, with orange and grapefruit notes and a hint of nectarines.
Finish: Pretty huge, needless to say. Soot and coal with some of that citrus sharpness.
But it’s with water that the Tempest truly explodes with flavour, lifting apple blossoms and the marshmallows on the nose and releasing the full smoked fruitiness of the palate. You don’t need to be shy with the water, it can take a good dose. Suddenly the crisp, tart citrus is amazingly magnified, as the phenols, while remaining prominent, take more of a supporting role. Take it down to about 30%, leave it a few minutes and suddenly the honey and tropical fruits are there again, but still with a healthy whack of peat. It’s fabulous.
You can read more about how much Tim F loves this whisky on the TWE Blog here