Match sticks, charred BBQ stuff, burnt black licorice, flambe, berry cough syrup and a big dose of sulphur. Smoke and ash linger with light peat. Flashes of sherry come through and hold on through the finish. Bigger red fruit and more balanced compared to teh 2nd edition which was mustier had more metallic/ graphite.
From the LAWS blind tasting 2/2014, and we were trying to guess the distillery, age and ABV.
Nose: The sherry on this one had me thinking Strathisla or Longmorn (oh how wrong I was), and though I got a little sulphur, it was definitely not bad. Papayas and sweet jam.
Palate: More sherry, of course, and just a light touch of peat, which had me thinking Bunnahabhain, but I still really felt this was a sherried speysider. Definitely coats the mouth and a bit sticky, nice citrus.
Finish: Nice finish with more papayas, lingers nicely.
I guessed 48% ABV, Strathisla at 24 years. WRONG, WRONG and WRONG. :(
At first I said it was very enjoyable, maybe an 89/90, then when I heard it was Black Bowmore I thought, maybe 91...errr...stop. I'll keep it at my first score, and leave the bias of a legendary whisky out of this, but I'll select A- since that is part of my score.
Well...after that write-up, this will seem self-serving. However, I assure you that this an honest assessment.
I loved it. I said I loved it at the time and I thought it was much older - around 39-40 years. Reminded me greatly of the 1972 Glendronachs in the 700 cask series (In the guessing-game portion of the event Glendronach, Glenfarclas, Longmorn were my distillery guesses). It was a lightly sulphered sherry thump. Complex and IMHO excellent. I do a considerable amount of blind tasting and this would fall into the 92+ category for me using the 100 scoring scale. However, I doubt that I would have gone above 95......
Having said that, I would never have pegged this for the cult-icon that it is (I didn't). Don't get me wrong, I thought it was great. But high-four-figures, must-have-before-you-die, if-you-find-one-at-any-price-you-must-buy-it whisky? Not at all. Spend less than $1,000 (well, at the time of this writing anyway) on some older Glendronach sherry monsters and you will get a similar experience.
The geek in me is very greatful for such an experience. I recommend this whisky to anyone who loves older sherry monsters with just the right amount of sulpher....just don't treat this - or any whisky - like it is the greatest thing to ever be put in a bottle.
[Adam adds: Verifying the above. Dave was a big fan of this during the blind tasting portion.]
Black-red color. Cigar ash, dried fruits, sherry, what a nose. I did like the nose a lot on this one. The palate was more dry sherry to me (I didn't get as much of the sweetness) with some tannins. I wrote down old library and I think I was trying to get at that it is a little stuffy malt. Great finish. It's weird, because from my notes, I'm like how did I not score this higher, but I gave it a B+ (A- nose). I will always wonder how I would have scored this both not blind and if it was later, like 4th or 5th in the lineup. The head games you play when drinking Blind -- very fun. [Blind - 2/21/14]