This one had a lot more floral components than some of the other sherried Islays. The dark sherry was well integrated and the dusty/dirty elements were balanced by the sweet fruits. The smoke and phenols are clearly there but not in any way dominant. Well done....
Sherry and cranberries in the nose. The palate... well, let's just say that at my first tasting, all I could write was "ATTACK!!" A couple days later I revisited this whisky -- first note: "wonderful." It's just an excellent melding of peat and sherry -- and not much more than that, but that melding is all that's needed. The smoke and sweetness are extremely well-balanced, and stay that way, with a little pepper entering in the long finish. The more I drank of this, the more I couldn't get over just how amazingly balanced it is... just great smoke and great sweetness in perfect levels. YUM.
I thought I had tried sherried PE before, but nothing like this. The slightly tart burnt molasses type sherry is dominant at first, then sweet peat emerges. Smoke and burnt notes linger in the finish. I didn't get any of the floral notes I usually find in PE. Thick like syrup, takes a glass of water to rinse from your mouth. I wavered on B+ or A- for a while on this one. It is in some ways young and brutish, clubbing you over the head with flavor, surprising for a 25 year old. But then again, I would very much like to have several more bottles of this, and that puts it into the A- range for me.
2nd taste: I don't know if I got the right (blind) bottle last time. If so I was wrong or this opened up really well. This is a classic great Port Ellen, butterescotch and redhots. Respectable finish. A-