This sample was kindly provided by @ocdwhisky, Whisky ambassador for The English Whisky Company, for a recent blind tasting on Twitter.
12yo full maturation in a 50ltr quarter cask ex-red wine. Unknown origin of original cask (possibly Bordeaux).
My notes were written prior to any knowledge of which expression we were sampling.
Appearance: Beautifully dark Auburn, lovely autumnal shade and very sumptuous looking. Lovely thick tide mark when swirled, viscous coating and thick legs. Looks awesome!
Nose: Lovely rich forest fruits, sugar, honey, an oaky, almost smokey aroma too. I would say that there’s a wine influence at play with this one, maybe port? Fresh out of the oven cake, custard and a touch of raspberry ice cream sauce. I very much like the nose!
Palate: Nice mouthfeel, not hugely viscous, but it does have an oiliness to it, for sure.
Full flavour, I’d say a higher abv, maybe 58%Abv?
Spices hit first, along with bitter lemon and lemon salt. And the flavour dissipates, the bitter lemon morphs into blood orange.
There’s a touch of sweetness in the form of boiled fruit sweets, again, orange flavour.
The forest fruits element remains from the nose, adding some balance to the more bitter and slightly sour notes. There’s also a small showing of milk chocolate.
As the palate acclimatises to this whisky, the sweeter, more mellow chocolate and a mint freshness grow in strength, which I prefer to the initial bitter citrus flavours.
Finish: Medium in length. Spicy and peppery (white). Pink grapefruit and chocolate.
Overall: I think this one would be a whisky that would come into its own halfway down the bottle, for my tastes. I really like the emerging sweet chocolate and more buttery side of the whisky, not so much the bitter tang/grapefruit notes.
That said, it balances well, is full-on flavour and looks stunning.