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Raspberries and jam. Theres fudge cocoa mixed with the earthy grape notes of a cognac/Armagnac. Im really hesitant to use the unholy word, "smooth" here but the transition from fruit jam notes to fudge and rich vanilla back to lighter fruity notes is really well done. Theres some light, faint, laddie smoke that dances in and out but the dominating theme here in the nose is rich, jammy fruit. Could probably pass as spirit aged in Smuckers casks, if such a thing were a thing, of course.
Smoke immediately punches in for a moment before resigning to more sweet notes. Jammy raspberry and red grape mix well with some brine and a good hint of dark chocolate. Really, very rich. I could see myself pairing this with a lot of really good meals - red meat, scallops, some good mahi, a well braised and seasoned turkey, etc. Anyways. Theres another load of smoke and the fade into the finish is well done; moving from sweet and rich to dry and smokey.
Medium long. Not as long as I was expecting but Im not disappointed. Theres no heat and its growing really smokey and briney. Theres a bit less fruit and a lot more rich fudge and cocoa which compliment the salty smoke nicely. It goes down well, with a little bit of dryness to it.
Overall, I'm very impressed. I had looked at this bottle for many months (I'm a laddie fan, shoot me) and through circumstance it finally became affordable so I picked this fella up along with the sibling 382 Sauternes (spoiler alert: next review). I expected it to be a transcendent dram - but that is not the case. That being said though, Im not disappointed. This is easily one of the richer, more complex drams I've had and a special occasion is well celebrated with a dram. I think octomore shines at very young ages and these other finished laddies are the opposite - 21 years has really done this dram well. The marriage of flavors is not only intense and rich but complex and well blended. The cognac influence plays very well with laddie peat and smoke. I'm rating this dram an 8. If I could afford to, Id keep a bottle of Bruichladdich Cuvee and an Octomore on hand at all times as they make an excellent contrast.