Whisky Review: Bellwether French Oak CS (Bottled for Whisky Freedom)

Style: Sweet and Very Spicy

Nose:
Good dab of soy sauce, followed by a surge of spirit spice. Christmas cake, walnut and dried blood orange forming all the necessary sweetness at the core. The heat takes a herbal, dry grassy turn and we have some minty eucalyptus free flowing up high. Peeling off a layer of barbeque smoke, thin crust of boiled red candy wrapped around the outskirt.

Palate:
Wow, what a massive palate. Intense heat and intense flavours at ground zero. Red confectionaries reduced into dark syrup. Sultanas, cough syrup, dried flower petals and cotton candy shatters into thousands of sharp pieces. A layer of spirit-y notes building up and form some herbal bitterness, which unfortunately, placed under the spotlight as the sweetness wanes towards the back. Red liquorice, oak and walnuts notes to finish.

Finish:
Ripples of bitterness eventually come to an end, and the port-influenced sweetness claws back and we have cherry liquorice and malt slowing decompressing at the end.

Thoughts:
While I do enjoy more-ish drams with stronger impact of flavours. However, I also think that when the abv (in this case, it is 67.8%) passes a certain level, the spirit becomes too hot and starts to lock up some of the flavours. Especially when it is relatively young and matured in (I suspect) smaller casks. In this case, personally, I think the expression is overly compressed and will benefit from by a substantial dilution.

[67.8% • Original Bottling • 2018 Bottled • Cask Strength • No Age Statement • 53 of 59 Bottles]

-Esmond