Nose: Sweet, smoked cranberries and raspberries are greeted by a firm coastal breeze, before being enveloped by ashy chimneys, fireplaces and Victorian steam-powered workhouses. Bright minerality from beach gravel sits with playdoh, putty and axle grease, whilst pork ribs and BBQ’d ham is served with a side of rich cherry sauce. Dilution adds alluvial soils and farmyard cues from haylofts, whilst also expressing blackcurrants and hospital floor cleaner.
Taste: Big and impactful – this is not messing with either it’s ABV nor its concentration of flavours. Red and black berries alongside cherries are reduced down to thick, spreadable jams whilst burning logs and smouldering gorse are joined by wet hay and pig sties. Medicinal and autolytic combine in notes of cold cream and ointment whilst meatiness from game meats (well-hung grouse) sits with ashiness and char. Water adds industrial dirtiness with greasy pans, machine oils and meat fats, whilst also adding more fruity/savoury treats – ham hock with redcurrant, burnt ends with cherry jelly.
Finish: Long with intense berry sweetness, rich meatiness and tart balsamic notes.
A full-on Bunnahabhain that’s about as far as you can get from an opening-dram. Concentrated fruits alongside a wonderful combination of industrial/farmy peat smoke and enchanting meatiness. Big, brash, bruising and brilliant. Joint pick of the month.
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