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February 24, 2023 (edited February 27, 2023)
3.5 out of 5 stars
Nose: (neat) Cereals, dusty malt and an ethanol hit that tweaks the nose on first nosing. Vanilla, oak and pears in the back but it’s hard to get past the alcohol. It’s not tight, just intense. After a few minutes resting in the glass it calms down a bit and a deeper nosing is possible, at which point you get a lot of oak aromas.
Nose: (watered) Dilution does not change the profile a great deal, but it does ease the alcohol intensity. The cereals are baked now rather than raw, and there are some banana aromas, but that’s the only significant change. Even with 30 minutes rest after dilution this did not present much that was new.
Palate: (neat) Sweet cereals, oatmeal, vanilla pudding with sultanas and tinned fruit. Some pineapple chunks in milk chocolate in the development. The texture is full and oily but there is that heat again. It builds but it’s not exactly what I’d call spicy – it's just plain alcohol heat biting the tongue.
Palate: (watered) Like the nose the palate is not significantly different when diluted. The arrival is a touch softer and more rounded, the mouth-feel is creamier and for a second or two you expect the heat of the neat nose to have been conquered. However suddenly it roars forward again and the mid to late development is exactly as before.
Finish: (neat) Medium. Cereal and green apples fading into a slightly drying and astringent metallic aftertaste (cold overbrewed black tea?). You sense the tin that held the fruit pieces that were on the palate.
Finish: (watered). Not a great deal of difference. The metallic quality is still there but it's more muted, and there is a lingering taste like oatmeal.
The official Distiller review sums this up pretty well but I take issue with one specific point. For me this is not a balanced whisky, in fact I’d call it thin, unbalanced and showing poor integration, which for me are all big faults.
My overall sensation is that that this expression was too soft and demure for the alcohol content. 55.8% abv is not that high and I’ve tasted many whiskies in the 60%+ abv range that have great balance. The problem here is that the alcohol dominates and there is not enough character of aroma or flavour to support it. I don't think this would have worked that well at a lower abv either - it's just not a great vatting, IMHO.
Tasted from a 30ml sample.
"Good" : 83/100 (3.5 stars)
The nose is refreshingly original, Carmel citrus and a Lorie fresh cut wood. The taste is adventurous, deep yer light, slightly vanilla and slightly pitted fruit. A rich classy lasting finish, but not heavy or thick.
Nez fruité et boisé, épices. Bouche beau côté boisé et une belle puissance et chaleur avec le haut taux alcool. Un peu poivré, banane, figue.
Beau mélange fruité, boisé, épicé.
Pas très tourbé, un peu fumé.
Malty, light notes of stone fruit and tannic oak. A solid, traditional-style whisky to wrap up my journey through the 2020 special releases. I suspect most of these warrant more contemplation than a small sample allowed, but I shall move on: there’s lots more where these came from.
December 14, 2020 (edited February 24, 2023)
3.0 out of 5 stars
Keep starting to review this and decide I can't come to the right words. It's an oddly simple whisky but hard for me to score and review.
nose - I'm stealing from the tube but I'm with their notes. It's light oak with melon and pear. You can tell right away this is a very sugary sweet forward dram balanced by some oak spice.
taste - spicy drying oak with this rich fruity sweetness that then turns to this toasted oak toosie roll. Very candied and spicy oak. The high abv really pushes this to tongue numbing, but even water doesn't end the intense oak bite at the end.
Gragganmore always has a really unique finish that's a mix of sweetness and oak in a way I can't put my finger on.
So overall score? I'm a bit confused by this one. The alcohol and spice bite don't feel fully balanced. Everything about this is turned up to 11 and it's oddly not enjoyable to drink. I still however am also in love with that toasted oak and chocolate with the pear and over the top sugary malt at the finish. So I think this scores a 3.0. 2.0 being average and a 3.0 being a really great dram that misses on exceptional or special.
Overall at 155 for those looking at value I'm really torn. I wouldn't buy this again as at 155 it's no longer just a mindless drinker and at 155 it doesn't really have any wow factors. On the other hand it's CS and 20 years old and the age shows. So for that it's value. If you want a CS 20 year old to cut your teeth and want an OB, this might be a good way to do it. So I guess it's fair value but not for everyone.
November 27, 2020 (edited February 16, 2021)
3.75 out of 5 stars
(Good Spirits Co. Glasgow – Virtual Premium Whisky Tasting, 27 November 2020).
Nose: Children's sweets, light tropical fruit, banana. Hints of oil and furniture polish
Palate: Wood. Pepper, vanilla. Very fresh, bright and 'zingy'. Orchard fruit - pears, quince and apples. A little 'hot'
Finish: Medium long finish. Sour apples, wood, chilies
There is a distinct 'woodiness' throughout that concentrates in the mouth through to the aftertaste. There is a tannic dryness to the whisky, but it is not overwhelming due to the zingy fruit notes. This is a lovely dram.
Came first of the six whiskies, with 35% (8) of the final vote for favourite of the night. (91% of those present said they enjoyed the whisky).