Yesterday’s dram turned out to be a Bladnoch, which reaffirms my belief that I need to find some more stuff from this little Lowlander. Today is… well, you see, it is… simply… pfff…
There are two things you need to know about me. One, I am not a fan of heavily sherried whiskies in general. I find that the sherry (and accompanying oak) tends to push interesting delicate flavours to the background. Two, I usually try to be as objective as possible, giving scores based for the most part on complexity, balance and other relatively objective factors. Both of these things will be troublesome for today’s dram as it is heavily sherried and I abso-fucking-lutely love it. I will therefore say in advance that this is not going to be very objective. You have been warned.
The nose is powerfully sherried. The christmas cake to end all christmas cakes with cherry, banana, warming spices like cinnamon with a faint trace of smoke and a slight saline edge as well. Later on there’s shortcrust pastry and fudge. Also fresh, slightly sour grape juice. With water I get some sulfur, a meaty note, weak tea and something metallic in addition to everything above. Lovely, complex and balanced. As good a sherried nose as I’ve smelled. After some time in the glass, the sherry evaporates and leaves behind what smells suspiciously like an ex-bourbon barrel. A finish? Or double maturation rather? Or just an american oak sherry butt?
The taste starts with a milk chocolate and faintly smoky dark fruit explosion, more of a dull thud actually. Warming mouthfeel, 60+ABV but very very drinkable with only a few drops of water added. There’s gravy here, cedar-wood sigarboxes and a little bittersweet wood (but very very restrained in the tannin levels). With some water I get more spices (cinnamon, cloves) and some more meatiness. The finish goes on and on, and on, and on… with liquorice, fudge, caramel, cherry…
This, overall, is the exception which proves the rule for me. I love it. The woodspice and tannins are juuuust right (which for me means: restrained), the sherry influence is dark, balanced, clean and complex. Yum! The only score for this is in joint 1st place right next to the Glen Keith from sample 12. Now, as for guesses. Glendronach (not possible due to already having appeared in this year’s btc), Glenfarclas and Aberlour come to mind. I get the sweet notes I associate with Aberlour, but also the dark sherry I associate with Glenfarclas. Another option would a sherry-finished Westport (teaspooned Glenmorangie). It would fit the heavy modern sherry as well as the sweet bourbon undercurrent. I don’t think it is very old or there would have been more wood influence. I do think the ABV is very high, around the 61-63% mark.
My guess: Glenfarclas, Speyside, 10yo, 62.0%
My score: 91/100
What it turned out to be:
Glenrothes 6yo Adelphi (whiskybase) 25.05.2007 - 19.02.2014 ABV: 66.8% Cask#: 3526