After yesterday’s lovely ex-bourbon matured dram, we are now back on the continent. Heavy sherry, lots of oak and high ABV. A bomb if there ever was one.
Let’s dive right in. The nose gives me 3 main aroma’s: european oak, dark sherry and gravy. Very aromatic, this. It seems old: there’s a lot of bitter wood (but I’ve been very wrong before on ages with this style). Old leather, sigarboxes, sandal and cedar woods, cherries and grapefruit. Glue too, sulfur and paint thinner. Smells like it it right on the edge of being over-oaked. Strangely, I also get some american oak aroma’s: milk chocolate and orange. Maybe this was reracked at some point in its maturation? Nice enough nose, though I fear for the taste.
The taste confirms: this, to my palate, is over-oaked. Loads of bitter, dry wood. Laurel liquorice, burnt caramel, nutmeg and strong black tea. And do I detect smoke? Some ash? Possibly a dirty spirit and/or cask as well, which would make it a bit younger than the bitterness seems to suggest. On the finish, mercifully, the bitterness recedes slightly and I’m left with the pleasant aftertaste of salty liquorice.
This, overall, is not my cup of tea. The nose is quite good, but the taste spoils it. I do think it will score highly, and I cannot really fault anyone for loving this. The nose is complex and balanced, while the taste lags a little, but leaving aside the oak for a moment is quite tasty in itself. As for the guess: Speyside is out fortunately. I will discount Highland because of the smoke. Island (HP), Campbeltown (Glen Scotia) and Islay (Bunnahabhain) are in.
My guess: Glen Scotia, Campbeltown, 19yo, 56.7%
My score: 83/100 (nose 87, taste 78).
What it turned out to be:
Glendronach 1993 20yo for Abbey Whisky (whiskybase) 15.01.1993 - 11.2013 ABV: 59.1% Cask#: 33