Nose: Rich red and dark fruits – raspberry, redcurrant, plums and rhubarb – sitting with overbaked bread (burnt and blackening at the edges) and cookie dough. After a time, glace cherries emerge together with chocolate sponge – almost gateaux-like quality. Water isn’t really welcomed sadly – adding yeastiness and wallpaper paste which doesn’t quite sit with the core aromas.
Taste: Now we’re into a proper chocolate cake – rich, spiced with ginger, packed full of dried blackberries, cranberries and cherries and served with a slice of rye bread. Orange marmalade provides additional sweetness, whilst oak is lacquered but still quite fresh and sappy. Again dilution jars – white pepper and astringency added and some of the definition of sweetness and spice lost.
Finish: Medium and cask-forward – pepper, ginger, anise and plenty of charred oak.
This Blair Athol would score several points higher were it not for its rather hydrophobic nature. The undiluted nose and palate have developed natural sweetness and fruity richness from the charring process, but taken down a few %, balance and definition disappointingly goes AWOL.
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