General facts: This bottling was launched in November of 2013 and replaced the previous Vintage 2002. The spirit was distilled in 2003 and bottled in 2013, which makes it about ten years old. The whisky has been matured in American oak casks, bourbon barrels to be specific. The ABV is 46% and this bottling has neither been artificially coloured nor chill-filtered.
Colour: Pale straw
Nose: A spirit note at first, then heaps of lemon and slowly but surely more fruit to follow. The taste has a tangy side to it initially, and as time goes by some chocolate, apples, a faint floral note which is difficult to define, some oak and finally a lot of toast. The nose has some difficulties opening up and I think it’s gonna take a drop of water or two for it to bloom. After watering the whisky the nose becomes more fudge-like, and a lovely ginger note finds its way through together with classic honey.
Taste: The taste is actually sweeter than I had expected, with a big dollop of honey and some dry spices. Here is also an interesting, slightly bitter but also floral note reminding me of an Austrian distillate where they use the flower Gentiana to flavour it. Well, enough about that and back to the whisky! Sour fruit flavours mix together nicely with the malty sweetness and vanilla, and the whole thing tastes kind of like pear crumble. The body of the whisky is overall rich, youthful and fruity with a floral tough and dark chocolate. After some water added the sweetness is balanced together with the spiciness and a grassy, herbal note appears with something like sweet rosemary. There is something else here too, is it lavender? The fruitiness comes back with a vengeance and delivers fresh, slightly tangy plums.
Finish: Medium long finish where the oak, vanilla and some walnuts stay on the tongue. With water the aftertaste becomes more peppery and the oak becomes more prominent, and at the same time the honey from the nose and taste also is more noticeable.
This whisky is definitely similar to the bourbon matured Vintage 2004. There are several common denominators but maturation- and tastewise, but when it comes to the 2003 I feel it is less fruity and more spicy than the 2004. A qualitative and habil whisky that with a dash of water reveals itself as a malty, spicy Highland whisky with elements of both fresh fruits and summer blossoms.