This has been around a long time and small pockets of it still existed. Recently, Alexander and James had it on at a cut down price (£115) but those stocks have now gone. I’m led to believe that this was an experiment by the staff blenders at Diageo (go wild! see what happens!) which explains the complicated finishing regime (three years in refill bourbon, then equal thirds “finished” for 17 years in American oak sherry casks, new charred European oak and first fill American oak bourbon casks), and the complexity of the finished whisky. It was also the first grain whisky in the Diageo special releases.
Nose - Sweet, clean clear sherry, juicy red fruit, peaches and old school permanent marker. Rich, bright, sharply wooded with an underlying vanilla current of old Scotch grain and old single cask rum. Slightly lactic? With water, more complex and deeper, richer wood, less grainy in fact. Lots of bright, ripe, Victoria plum and waxed wood, very very nice indeed. Lots of fun to be had here.
Body - Immediately very ripe, old grain. Boiled sweets and earth, some light peat. With water, juicier and fruiter - orange and plum come through – with some chewed pencil. Lightly spicy, a bit oily, complex and interesting.
Finish - Lacquered and slightly numbing. Oily and ripe. Water brings out a lovely, light sulphur edge, ripe oak tannins and more oils. Beautiful.
What's not good about it - Lactic notes and frankly, a bit grainy before adding water.
What's good about it - Loads of fun when you start adding water. You could spend happy hours adding small drops and chasing the nose. Very special.