Very rarely I buy a bottle without tasting first these days. This one I took a punt on as it came 2nd in 2019 out of around 70 - 80 whiskies in one of our local whiskey retailers formal tasting sessions. How the format works is every month they do a tasting. Last month they did a single cask Benriach selection which I went to. This month i'm attending a single cask Glendronach session. Each session they crown a winner and at the end they have a 'Best of the year' session where they take the top whiskey from each session and taste all together. Now this whiskey came top of its round and then 2nd in the 'Best of the year' session, 1st being a 27 yr single cask Glendronach literally 5 times the price. Now it sold out like lightning and I only found a bottle as one retailers entry didn't appear on google (I've found a few hard to get crackers by direct searching on the site rather than relying on google). Anyhow I got literally the last bottle in NZ most likely. https://www.regionalwines.co.nz/blogs/news/big-whiskies-battle-it-out-at-best-of-the-best Fast forward a couple of months and to commemorate a Distiller legend reentering the tasting ring aka @LeeEvolved. I cracked open the bottle and included it in an 18 flight lot currently winging it's way to VA, USA with a partial on-forwarding to NY to another Distiller giant @PBMichiganWolverine. Once open and after a bourbon barrel aged ale and xmas pudding stout (hey it's a public holiday here so all good for a session!) I thought I really should try before part of its whole lands on USA shores. So here the story takes a plot twist. I poured a dram with a little water and....as the Distiller reviews say metallic...it really is..and thinner than compared to say the Benromach 10 or 15. You get an acidic type peat, the sherry all coming together but it's not really a dram for me. How could 100ish whiskey connoisseurs rate this so highly? Is it a whiskey which shines amongst others? Do you need food? More time? Now it's not bad I'd say 3.5 to 3.75 which I'll place hold for now...maybe time will temper its metallic characteristics. Ok update, having had an interlude of Kilchoman Loch Gorm 2019 and a Benriach single cask this is one that arises to the occasion when there's competition. After those two this improved a fair bit. I'd say imagine a cask strength sherried Ledaig crossed with a Mortlach and this is that. Now 3.75 to 4.....then 4..will it be the gift that keeps on giving (and improving)? Oh and this needs water to bring out its essence. Update 2: Up up it goes. This one needs a few more years and water but still beautiful stuff. It has an imbalance which needs to be remedied by water. It's quite sharp without and even slightly with but over look this and a beautiful sweet barbecue flavour envelopes the palate. The metallic flavour has gone. Due to its shortcomings it won't rise higher but for an $80 dram....nice work! Update 3: Ok more time and tasting and back down it goes. I think with these types of spirit you really need a few drams prior to mask the ethanol harshness. The flavour really hasn't stood the test of time. I ended up giving half the bottle away as part of a swap for an old GD 15 Revival..hope the current owner likes it. The only reason I could say my local club rated it so highly is it would have been been tasted in parallel with several other mostly high strength whiskies. Back down to 3.5 to 3.75 territory.