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This was a dissapointment. A 23yo single malt, with a beautiful bottle, around the $300 mark, that is named "Grand Cru" which means a special blend of wines in the wine industry, and having declared that this was matured in french Cuvée casks (special best casks for champagne) but gives you a flavor that you can find in most 12-15yo speyside whiskies, it is just sad for the customer.
I am not saying this was a bad dram, not at all, it is just normal. Forgettable.
Bottled at 40%abv, golden color.
On the nose: Vanilla powder, yellow apples, caramel powder, pears, chocolate powder, winey. Second sip became just caramel and lemon.
On the palate, nothing really. A very normal fresh apple flavor with hints of pepper. Pears.
Aftertaste was the best part of it, but absolutely normal. Ginger, Vanilla powder, cinnamon, apples. Second and third sip revealed some mineral notes, maybe salt.
And that's it.
I believe that this is not only boring and normal, it falls into my perception of some "fancy" whiskies that have standard, safe flavors for those buyers who don't know much about whisky and they have a bigger wallet, and when they have this, they'll enjoy it because it is a smooth apple juice, but for the real critics and enthusiasts it is plain boring. I wouldn't pay more than 40 dollars for a whole bottle, it is not even a better Glenfiddich than the 15, 18, 19 age of discovery ones or the 21, and i think that is undeniable. My score for it is a creepy 77 over 100. Move along, nothing to see here.
The nose is rich and full, giving a sense of age, though not giving a sense of much complexity or deep, dark, rich flavors like Glenfarclas. The palate is disappointingly light and watery. I'm not shocked given that it's only 40%, but I am disappointed. There's a prevalent wateriness. There's some light fruit, but the flavors on a whole don't really stand out in terms of quality. There's a decent balance I guess with fruitiness and some spice and some cardboard, but it really doesn't taste like much. It tastes better than bland sake, but it has its own imperfections too. The flavor here is light with no smoke or sea spray. There's plenty of sweetness, sort of like mild sugar water but it also has some problematic bread that's gone a little bad but isn't full-on mildewed yet. It definitely has a light flavor that gives me a bit of a notion of champagne, though it also kind of just reminds me of sake and shouju. It's really not very good, unfortunately. I like some of the sweetness and a bit of the more subtle swirling character, but it kind of tastes like Sho Chiku Bai Nigori with some gross bread, which isn't bad but is weird. I only get a little bit of the richness that the distiller reviewer claims. I do taste a little bit of pear and sweet apricot and they're nice, but not enough in this price range and, frankly, not enough for a whiskey in general. This mostly doesn't taste bad, but it tastes like a whole lot of nothing.