Wow! An extremely pleasant whisky and one that is very more-ish. Despite the high alcohol, it’s wonderfully approachable and not at all aggressive. (A gentle giant?)
Sorry, but if this was served to me blind, there’s no way I’d pick it as an Australian whisky. If you’d told me this came from the heart of Scotland, I wouldn’t doubt it for a second – it’s very Scotch-like. (I often wonder how Australian whisky producers feel about such comparisons. Is this a compliment or an insult?) In either case, this is great whisky: Well made, well matured, and well delivered.
Nose: Immediately fragrant. Sweet barley malt sits on top. Then a hint of sherbert, and loads of freshly cut wood (pine?). There’s also some underlying vanilla, bordering on soft caramel. Also, with time, a very faint waft of smokiness flitters by. There’s some complexity in here, and your nose is rewarded if you take the time to explore all on offer. A splash of water brings out some Huon pine and a stoney, mineral-like scent.
Palate: Loads of sweetness up front, but it’s natural sweet malt and wood sugars, rather than a saccharine sweetness, or the lacquered sweetness you get from a wine cask or a bad wood-finish. More vanillins come through (no doubt the bourbon cask wielding its influence), and there’s more chewy malt. It’s delightfully and deliciously clean. The mouthfeel is quite grippy, and it’s a great tactile texture. With water, the palate turns in a more savoury direction, offering Danish pastries and a pleasant butteriness.
Finish: The finish is long and powerful, and it becomes quite nutty – there’s a distinctive note of hazelnuts, and possibly also some stewed fruits, or perhaps stewed rhubarb?
The finish – which goes on and on – eventually trails to a dry nuttiness (plain, unsalted cashews?). It leaves quite a drying and grippy footprint, as though you’d been sucking on a boiled lolly for a long time.
Director and Cellar Master
Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Australian Gourmet Pages