The Rare Malts are a limited-edition series by Diageo to showcase some of the whiskies they own from now-defunct distilleries. This line was discontinued in 2005, taken over by Diageo's "Special Release" bottlings, but bottles are still around as of spring 2008.
N: Ether, white chocolate, vanilla, and marshmallows. P: Holy schnikies Batman, that's cask strength! Once the tongue numbs a bit however, I really like it, tastes like a liquid highly alcoholic cupcake. F: Sweet and cakey, super long.
Nose of white wine and vanilla. The palate is initially sweet, then dries out. That vanilla/cake batter thing is going on in this one, along with citrus, lemons, and spice. The key characteristic for me here is that this is almost "zesty" or "zingy" -- whatever that is, I like it. Drinks fine at full strength. Water adds spice and reduces sweetness; too much water reveals soap. And as this opens up and the glass goes down, that slight soap aspect becomes apparent, but not enough to ruin it for me.
Slight barley, vanilla nose. Significant vanilla taste, very oily, with a mild, mid-length finish. Notably, there's not much alcohol that comes through even at 59/4%. This tastes like what it is...a mellow, aged Speyside. Just not particularly memorable.