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Nose: Just got over COVID. Don't smell much. It's sad.
Palate: Nutty; peanuts, hazelnut, almonds. Buttery, creamy. Shortbread cookie like. With a little water, this opens up the honey and the sweetness and the fruitiness. Classy, heavy mouthfeel but no smoke. It's a heavy scotch. I adore it.
As a side note, I cannot believe this is natural color. It's so dark. Perhaps that's the Oloroso Sherry cask.
August 16, 2020 (edited October 17, 2021)
1.25 out of 5 stars
N: There's surprisingly little nose here. After a few moments, an oily characteristic comes out. I then get a little bit of bitter herbal smell. It immediately reminds me of Sir Edward's 12 and Glen Logie, giving the impressing of a cheap blend rather than a single malt. I don't really get the alcohol on the nose too much and I presume what I do get is mostly there because there isn't much else. There's a hint of something floral with some pear and lemon or perhaps artificial citron a la Veil Citron. It's a really bad nose.
P: This is pretty oily, decently malty, and quite harsh. There's some nuttiness to the oil, but it's kind of rancid. Sure, it's kind of spicy, but mostly harsh. It tastes better than the nose suggests with some flavor of not entirely artificial tart au citron coming in, but there isn't much complexity here and I'm not too wild about the flavors that are present. There is more malt than I expected and it does taste like it could be about 12 years in age, but it has a surprisingly bitter graininess to it and an unpleasant rubber bitterness to the oil. It's not enjoyable or complex or much of anything.
F: Oil with bitter rubber and a little bit of richness. Some of that citron. The harshness lingers somewhat. I can't say that this is a pleasant finish.
The most obvious comparison here is Sir Edward's 12. Sir Edward's has more complexity and refinement, but also more alcohol and a hair less richness. It's a bit of a trade-off, but I prefer Sir Edward's. I wouldn't say that this is as bad as Glen Logie (the other obvious comparison) or Pure Scot (the other other obvious comparison because of the harshness), but it's bad. I'll put it a point below Sir Edwards. I would definitely take the BenRiach 10 over this. I'm really confused actually about what the point of bottling this at 50% is or why it was released at all since its profile is so problematic. I'm so so glad I didn't buy a bottle of this one - there's no way it's worth anything approaching $75. I'm going 4-7 on this and landing on a 6 because it does at least have some decent malt flavor that shows off a bit of age.
The sherry finish shines on the nose. In the mouth, it’s sweet, tangy and citrusy. A lovely long finish adds chocolate to the mix. This bottling has been replaced by a 10-year version available in travel retail, but a few more bottles are making their way into the market thanks to the discovery of some overlooked cases in a Brown Forman warehouse.