Palate is atypical for (my experiences with) the distillery. Brightly fruity despite the age, and the kind that just makes me happy. I'm not sure that there's any smoke left in here... a tiny bit in the end of the finish, maybe. The oak grips, but not extremely so.
What a great vatting. Completely outstanding, never overwhelming but always fully delicious.
This is one of those whiskies where you read about it and say, "But is it f&@!ing worth $4,000?!" While that's a very hard question to answer ("to whom" is the first counter-question), in my experience these ultra-ultra-premium whiskies are almost always stellar in some way (there are notable exceptions), but they're never x times better. Meaning, this isn't 10 times better than a $400 Highland Park. It couldn't be, based on flavor and mathematics alone. Whisky only gets so good, in my opinion. Those who can pay this much for a bottle aren't just drinking the whisky, they're drinking an experience. Much like those who operate on a smaller budget might experience the same satisfying experience by making a leap from their regular $25 expenditures to a rare $250 purchase.
Tim Leary used to say about LSD that the user's experience is highly dependent on "[mind]set and setting." I propose that some whisky experiences are no different. Except that you're not tripping on acid.