Aged in European oak sherry casks and new oak casks, the whisky is mellowed in a Solera Vat, a large oak tun inspired by the sherry bodegas of Spain and Portugal. The vat is never emptied, & has been half full of whiskies since 1998. The 15yo was the first 15-year-old expression to enter the top ten best-selling single malts.
Appearance: Rose gold in colour. A decent thick swirl line forms, along with many uniform medium/thick legs around the circumference of the glass. All of which seem to hang there in stasis for an age.
Nose: Not as heady on the ABV as the 12, there’s an almost odd peach aroma, along with the sweetness and spices. Cinnamon, nutmeg and expressed orange peel – quite a Christmas feel to this one for me. I’m not really getting any of the sherry influence (although it wouldn’t be the first time!). There is a finished feel to it, but I would guess more wine or even one of the innovative cask types that @mackmyra employ. There is also a slight cereal wheaty aroma hidden beneath everything else, maybe even a ‘funk’!?
Palate: Thin mouthfeel, feint confectionary sweetness, some astringency and black pepper spice. A little drying too, nothing too distracting, but definitely ‘there’. The second sip feels more substantial to be fair, maybe even more viscous. Some butter toffee flavours appear, along with pine freshness and maybe the slightest wisp of sherry sweetness too now. It’s growing on me for sure. More fruit sweet notes appear as the glass matures, candied orange, strawberry laces and raspberry ripple ice cream.
Finish: Medium in length. Quite spicy and warming on the chest, almost heartburn-inducing. The sweetness and those cereal flavours linger for some time.
Overall: I much prefer this one to the 12. It does a good job with only 40% to play with. Plenty going on and all nice friendly elements to explore and enjoy.