Nose: maybe a little more discreet than the 18 at first nosing, but also more elegant. Starts on rather superb notes of quince jelly (I really love that) and apricot pie and starts developing on layers of very ripe fruits (plums, raspberries, very ripe melon) and all things from a beehive (pollen, wax, honey). There’s also a little smoke, fresh walnuts just like in the new 18, fresh herbs, roasted peanuts... And then it’s back on all sorts of jams, such as mirabelle or grape. Rather luscious, creamy, jammy... Yet, it’s not very bold whisky. Keywords: elegant jam (well, I guess I wouldn’t make it to the very enviable position of the guy who writes these ‘baselines’ at the SMWS...)
Mouth: incredibly creamier, thicker and... better than the 18. Not too far from pure honey actually, with also all these fruit jams again, high-end fruit liqueurs, nougat and praline, dates filled with marzipan... The oak is well here in the background, giving the whole a very perfect backbone and hints of spices that prevent the whole from getting slightly lumpish. And just like in the old 10yo, there’s also a little salt that plays with your tongue and with your lips. The balance is truly perfect, at that.
If you like creamy, fruity and honeyed whiskies, this is for you. Provided you’re ready to hand out almost 400 Euros for a 25yo malt that’s been reduced to 43%, that is. But talking about money is a bit cheap and dirty, isn’t it? Anyway, 90 points for this very expensive but very good creamy wonder (and thanks, Martine).
Aroma: The lingering late summer scent of fruit orchards laden with cherries and plums and hedgerow blackberries is melded with lavish chocolate and coffee tones followed by the sudden, icy clarity of fresh wild mint
A splash of water takes you into shady woods where the heady aroma of dark, syrup forest fruits including blackberries, redcurrants and bramble jelly linger, then give way to the aroma of sweet marzipan, tropical coconut and cinnamon-spiced orchard fruits
Taste: Big and full-flavoured, the effect is mouth-watering, chewy and then lightly mouthcoating
The initial explosion of sweet and bosky redcurrant and blackberry forest fruits bursts onto the tongue to be replaced by the sugary spiciness of mint humbugs that cools the sides of the palate. Then a clear and enlivening herbal flavour of aniseed sprinkled with cinnamon emerges, leaving the mouth tingling with effervescence, only to be sated by background flavours of bramble and warming spiciness
Finish: Intense warmth, heady with brambles and spices that melts softly away