Nose - Earthy, chocolatey at first, practically soil. Then there's twin streams of sugar and a sharp sourness, plus a slightly medicinal herbiness, like cut rosemary and dried oregano. The chocolate is Mr. Kipling chocolate cupcakes, with a glass or red wine. An obviously HQ cask.
Water brings a serious depth of vanilla, cask wax and black fruit, it pivots from hard and interesting (but challenging) into balanced and luxurious.
Body - Nutty wine cask again, that phenomenal sweetness is trying to get out but it's hidden behind clove and chilli chocolate – and numbing oils and peat catching at the back of the throat. Ripe plum, almost date with water, much more balanced than the unreduced palate and much richer - varnish and sugar. The more you sip, the more the cloves come.
Finish - Long, bitter, numbing, but balanced. Full of wine cask with water, liquorice and clove. Charred chilli at the end, maybe menthol cigarettes.
Seriously delicious this, especially with water. The sherry cask is bright and challenging, not a whisky cocktail, and the overall feel is of a really important, complicated whisky. That clove is, as always, fascinating - a product of wine and peat.