What madness is this - a 9 year old drawn from a knackered 3rd fill barrel?! Colour me intrigued. Bottled at a slightly reduced ABV of 57.1% and with a release of 261 bottles – that are now all sold out.
Nose: Solera lollypop, agave vegetalness, brackish water and damp smoke are joined by hot house vines, bell peppers and wet hay. A seafood bisque and barnyard round things off. The addition of water offers apple turnover, hessian sacking and straw. Fascinating.
Taste: Pickle juice and Tepeztate mezcal (mineral and vegetable - no animal) sit with chalk, brine and wood smoke. Freshly squeezed lemon and lime juices erupt through the development into sweet glazed doughnuts, white pepper and part medicinal wipes, part floor cleaner. Reduction offers a less extreme, but equally as thought-provoking composition of smoked pears, pancake batter and muster hay lofts.
Finish: Long with medicinal/coastal smoke rolling into salted antiseptic, cooling mint and sweeter notes of baked goods.
Possibly the most left-field whisky I’ve sampled this year – the palate in particular is alchemical madness. And yet, whilst arguably on the more extreme side of whisky there’s greatness here. The Sponge description implies that there’s a degree of underdevelopment here – I’d argue that – the spirit has simply not been over-exposed and therefore shines brightly. Less naked, more scantily clad as it were. Lowering the ABV does offer a somewhat less perverse outlook – but I have to say that this is pretty great straight out of the bottle. Put your seatbelts on for this one.