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A stupid treat for myself after dinner at a trade show in Las Vegas. Tasted neat from a rock's glass.
Right out of the gate the nose is not very impressive. Is this expensive? It sure is hell is here in Vegas!
On the nose there is just the lightest whiff of coffee, honey and a bit of a floral note. It's a very subdued. I am immediately thinking about Japanese whiskeys.
On the palate there's a lot of subtlety here. There's almost a coffee bean note. A white bit of cacao. Very light sweetness in the background. Maybe a bit grassy. Traces of honey. There is an ethereal quality to this. It's actually a pretty interesting drink, the more you poke around the more you get out of it.
The finish is a bit disappointing. It's kind of watery and just dies at the end. It opens with this wonderful super-light promise at subtle complexity and then it just fails to deliver.
I'm told this is $150 bottle. It's $50 for a glass. It's not worth it. Hard pass based on value for money alone.
It's actually quite a nice whiskey, and I think it might be competitive if it were like $50 a bottle!
My scale is very simple. A 1 = drain pour horrid stuff and 5 = a perfect example of the expression. This is a good whiskey but it is way overpriced. They're thoroughly proud of what they've done when instead they should probably be working a little harder to do it better. At least if they want to charge this kind of money.
I have to take a half a point off just for the bullshit pricing.
No there won't be a bottle of this on my bar.
A big, strong flavor-packed expression. Was expecting a bit less cohesion based on some reviews. Nose full of dark fruits, malt and light wood. On palette I got loads of plums, apricot, cherry and prunes with bits of anise and fennel. Finish is log and strong.
This is following George T. Stagg 2018, so it's at a disadvantage and also coming in with some clove on the nose. The nose is comparatively sweet and sherried. Of course, malt whiskey is usually sherried in comparison to bourbon. The nose has some additional malt whiskey funk that is a bit on the rummy side. It smells like cheap scotch, but surely that can't be the palate/reality? The palate is immediately much more bitter and complex than the nose is. Nikka From The Barrel bitterness jumps out along with a bit of licorice. It's sweet with malt whiskey roundness but balanced so that the malt doesn't take over. The Sherry flavor sure does come out with vibrant and sweet red fruit playing a key role. This has a few elements going on and it's easy to drink. There's some nuttiness in the richness that adds some oiliness, though it isn't exclusively almond. There's some dryness that keeps things under control, though the sweetness is still quite present. It's quite drinkable and good if you like malt whiskey. The complexity seems a bit improved over Nikka From The Barrel with the various notes coming out more. The smoke is still very present and it tastes much older than it likely is. The smoke is balanced in with the flavor and the profile has a nice complexity. It's definitely on the rich and savory side for a malt whiskey, but it's still sweet and fruity compared to bourbon. There's a nice amount going on that leaves me pondering and aside from the strong Sherry flavor (which I'm pretty sure is due to just tasting George T. Stagg 2018), there's nothing off-putting. Even the off-putting Sherry is a huge improvement upon cheaper malt whiskeys' Sherry flavors that putt off. It has a little bit of that Balcones Single Malt malty harshness, but not so much. The bitter herbal flavors come in, giving it some more robustness, but not overwhelming it. There's a fair bit going on here, but it is often subtle. If this is in the price range of Nikka From The Barrel, get it instead. Some interesting salt and briny flavors that I enjoy come through. It has some oddly tequila notes, but they are far from overwhelming. There's some vanilla that gives the flavor a bit of cheapness, but also fits in nicely. This is the robust, complex, and tasty single malt whiskey. It's a bit brash (like Nikka From The Barrel), but it has some stuff going on. The balance can be a bit off-kilter, but there are some nice core flavors that make it worth drinking. Really, the comparison with Nikka From The Barrel is unavoidable. There are some hints of leather that remind me of Glendronach 15, but that's a more subtle relationship. Distiller is right about the savory notes for a single malt, but there's a lot of stuff going on and while brine and mint do play roles, they are far from dominating. The Sherry is pervasive and keeps the sweetness aloft. There's something a bit more like caramel too that doesn't overwhelm. It's rich and ha some nice balance, but it's also subtle and has some jagged edges. It's an exemplar among American Single Malts, but among whiskeys it is far from perfect. It's interesting and fairly well balanced. Upon tasting Nikka From The Barrel 20 minutes later, this has a lot more Sherry and less smoke. The Nikka has more of an Islay flavor, though it isn't exactly more complex. It also has more sherry and less oak than Johnnie Walker Green, but the result isn't as good. The Sherry is comparable with that of Glendronach 15, but it lacks the leather to balance it out (and perhaps it isn't as strong). This ultimately isn't as good as any of those (though it is decent). The Sherry ultimately does taste a tad cheap thought the balance exceeds that of Westward Single Malt and this has more complexity. This is quite good, but not excellent. To be clear though, this is so so much better than the likes of Shieldaig The Classic. Generic sherried scotch doesn't come near this.