Nose: Fantastic nose with sweet sherry notes, prunes and wisps of smoke. Palate: A good integration of sherry and peat with vanilla and plums.
The flavors on this are spot-on but too weak at 40%. If this was cask strength and maintained its balance, it would be in the A range. This deserves a retaste when I haven't been sampling cask strength whiskies.
Palate... ohhh. Great flavor for 40%. Deliciously sweet (but not that sweet) and peated. There's also an odd synthetic aspect on some sips and nosings, it reminds me of the way Silly String smells and possibly might taste. Finish is long and peppery and good.
I wonder what this would have been like at full strength, but for once I don't really care. This is dangerously drinkable and massively enjoyable.
This bottle got perhaps the worst seat of the blind line-up card. At 40% it just didn't measure up to the heavy-hitters that went before it. This likely needs a re-taste.
Nose was sweet peat and light (almost too light for the expectations). Taste was weak and just not there - palate burn at this point likely. Finish: notes read "Where R U?"
***SIDE NOTE*** This was one of the collector battle malts and I turned in my grades along with my notes for tally. When I awoke the next morning (after passing out in the theater - I think I poured a bit too generously) and gathered my stuff, I noted an addition to my notes. Five of the six bottles had comments that were...well...less than flattering. One of two things occurred.....Either my drunken self wrote these comments without memory and in a handwriting that is less similar to mine than any drunken handwriting I have created before.....OR someone added them to my notes.....several attendees have adamantly denied responsibility and/or pointed the finger at others.....a drunken handwriting test shall be given following the next session to ferret out the true vandal. ;-}
N: Old school Ardbeg, farmy, diesel, garage workshop. P: The peat has really turned into something special, significantly more fruity than most other Arbegs, and still very big despite the 40% abv. F: Keeps me coming back for more. I kept going back to this bottle time and time again at every meeting till it was gone, and with all the great stuff on the LAWS bar, how can I not call that an A.