Nose: punchy and powerful, starting very malty and very sweet, on cooked strawberries, cake and buttered caramel, with whiffs of cinnamon and a nice, sweet and sour woodiness. Gets then more herbal, with notes of yellow Chartreuse, Darjeeling tea, American coffee and cocoa. There’s something ‘ascetic’ in it, for it’s rather close to nature (yeah, whatever that means). A malt that’s isn’t made-up, it appears, probably for aficionados, like many of these new limited bottlings by Diageo that appear to be rather austere (but you might know I like that) and without compromise.
Mouth: a powerful attack, extremely sweet and quite woody, starting on fruit liqueurs (such as pineapple), Chinese rice spirit, with a ‘sweet-and-sourness’ that gives it something funnily Extreme-Oriental indeed. Rather tannic, getting a little drying after a while… Right, let’s try it with water now… (and while the nose gets even fruitier and quite farmy as well…) Ah, yes, now it’s much more civilized, harmoniously fruity (apricots, peaches and melons, even tropical fruits such as mangos and passion fruits), with notes of freshly crushed mint leaves. The finish is rather long, balanced and enjoyable with water, always very fruity, with a little icing sugar. A malt that needs water to get tamed – or it’ll take no prisoners! Anyway, it’s the kind of no-peat-no-sherry-no-prisoners malt I like – 89 points