Nose: Started off with biting aromas so I gave it a good 20 minutes to breath. Upon coming back to it, it was a lot calmer but still relatively spicy with chilli and cinnamon. Hints of fresh fruits, green apples. There is vanilla too, but it remains in the background. Water brings the vanilla out more strongly. There is more sweetness alongside the tamed spices now, reminiscent of gingerbread. After another ten minutes, it got rounder still, with more wooden aromas, hints of tobacco and sweet honey melon.
Taste: First sip and I like it better on the palate already, although the mouth feel is thin. There is lots of wood, some vanilla. Spices come through still, especially pepper and chilli. The addition of water cannot quite make those spices disappear, but they're brought down somewhat. It's fruitier now and slightly creamy... dark chocolate with cherry and pepper.
Finish: Long with wood, tobacco and bitter dark chocolate.
Comments: Complex Speyside whisky from the "Old & dignified" category at SMWS. It benefits from both water and time. In fact, it changes quite a bit every ten minutes or so. If it wasn't for the spices that are a bit too dominant for my taste, this could have been a superb dram in my book.
Rating: I rated this whisky 85 out of 100.
(Nose 22, Taste 22, Finish 21, Balance 20)