This is about as cheap as you can get an 18-year-old single malt, and given Padraic's not unfavorable review of Tomatin 12, this looked like a good try when I saw it on sale last summer in the New Hampshire liquor store.
The sherry casks are obvious on the nose. Cinnamon raisin bread, grape jelly, vanilla almonds, and a touch of wood smoke. Overall a very pleasant nose with a good mix beyond the sherry.
The whisky hits the sweet buds first with apple jelly and almond cake. But then it turns intensely dry and woody with strong sherry. I usually love dynamic whiskies like Talisker and Ardbeg that evolve on the palate, but this swings the pendulum a little too far. The sherry and wood (eventually) breaks up on the long finish, which is a bit rough for an 18-year-old but gives a pretty nice aftertaste.
Overall, a complex, though incoherent, whisky. The flavors are strong, but the sweet to dry progression is a little like eating ice cream before salmon. Given the price and uniqueness though, I recommend picking up a bottle if you can find it. 86 points (B).
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