I was kind of saving this post to see what survives of my bank account after Campbeltown festival – maybe my enthusiasm would tip the balance between it being in stock or not on my return? Too late now that Serge has published his notes. I’ve no chance. Some you just have to let go!
Nose - Rich and deep with travel sweets, burning propane and a touch of toothpaste. It's a really hard, almost brutal nose softened unexpectedly with toffee, tropical fruit, pulled pork and menthol, and it just shouts cask quality. There's a herbal note in here too, like flyspray (remember that?) and chalky bonbons. Very compelling, pretty tuff though. Soft and mintier with water, fresh flowers too.
Body - Hard again, floral, toffee pennies and blonde oak. Green apples. Much softer with water, a touch of rolling tobacco against the toffee.
Finish - Medium and quite restrained. Needs water… quite long, citronella, grapefruit zest. More toffee at the end.
A robust, complex young whisky with lots to offer. It stood out at the whisky show but I'm not sure I'd burn through a whole bottle very quickly.
Here’s the new pair, thanks to TWE for samples of these!
First-fill sherry, Cask #4738
Nose - Intense but balanced super-sherry, Japanese levels of ooh. Sangria, wet tobacco, furniture polish (clearer than I've had for a while, even with that slightly sour edge from the solvent in the spray), candle wax balanced out by black pepper. A tiny spike of sulphur seasoning. Mango juice with water, more tobacco, more sulphur. Very classy and quite wonderful, fingers, toes and eyes crossed for the delivery…
Body - Ripe, bright fruit and dusty sherry cask. Balanced and fascinating, numbing and oily like cough candy is. Vanilla sponge, slightly caught, old icing.
Finish - Marker pens and Marlboro reds, long ripe blackberries. Very fruity. Black pepper and fag ash. Some sourness creeps in the finish with water but it opens the fruit out - the finish is very long.
A glorious, complex, slightly dirty but very well judged sherry monster. Very highly recommended.
First-fill bourbon barrel, Cask #4260
Nose - Elegant and old, with sour fruit and mint bonbons. Charred wood, fresh rain, more mango juice. It gets mintier the longer you spend with it. There's a wet wool, germolene and floor polish edge that makes it slightly more challenging than I was expecting. Orange juice with water, and a lot waxier, and old school highlighter pens (I hadn't realised they'd changed smell over the last 20 years until now).
Body - Oh man… unexpectedly rich, massively deep and well rounded, big toffee and supporting sulphur, soft liquorice and cherry pie. Dirty orange (grilled?), moving into grapefruit flesh. Even better with water, that sulphur integrates with the toffee, more orange juice, more grapefruit juice. Perfect.
Finish - Long, spicy and very sweet, very hot at the end, almost fried chillies. With water, burnt toast and almost charcoal.
Single cask HP can be amazing (not surprising the big blends are some of the best on the planet) and this is one of those. Very highly recommended.