The nose offered an abundance of orchard fruits – pears poached in port, peaches and cream, and stewed plums with custard – plus sponge cake and pink wafers. On the palate, raspberry sauce on ice cream and black forest gateau preceded a curious finish of wine-soaked staves, incense smoke and Indian spices. The reduced nose included hippy shop joss sticks, sandalwood and lavender, sugared almonds and apricot jam. The palate combined Amarena cherries in syrup and shortbread with a rather exotic finish of perfumed wood and ash, menthol and eucalyptus. After five years in ex-bourbon wood we transferred this into a first fill cosecha wine barrique.
A lovely nose brimmed with soft green and yellow fruits initially, ahead of flowers in full bloom, heavy with pollens, and beyond that honey cake, lime curds and scents of new leather and shilling ales. Some water brought notes of burlap sacks, caramelised pineapple, buttered oatcakes and fruity muesli. The neat palate displayed a beautifully intricate and delicate thread of smoky and waxy notes, plus pumpkinseed oils, salted caramel and lanolin, as orchard fruits with dried coconut hung in the background. Once water was added it became dominated by sweet cereals, brown bread, hoppy ales, butter and freshly muddled green herbs. Hints of rolling tobacco and light waxiness lingered in the aftertaste.
This opened with a big, no-nonsense initial aroma of custard with mulling spices, warm coffee grounds, walnut cake, dusty old bodega funk, mace, allspice and toasted almond flakes. With time a slightly sweeter, earthier edge emerged, like earthen-floored wine cellar must and walnut wine. Water brought out more aromatic aspects such as hothouse flowers, tobacco leaf and boiled mint sweets, plus a touch of candied grapefruit. The neat palate was surprisingly rounded, featuring lots of demerara sugar, plum wine, fennel seeds and treacle tart with a hint of blood orange. With reduction we found a much more intense and direct sweetness, characterised by flavours of blackcurrant jam, dates, plums in cognac, raisins and toasted oak lactones.
A gentle smoke poured over a bouquet of flowers, passion fruit and melon. This was immensely tropical on the nose, exhibiting hints of Caribbean rum and a fruity cake mix. Such an elegant palate, with the sophistication of rose water, the freshness of a sea breeze and the charm of an old dunnage warehouse. Mellifluous with water, we tucked into a syrupy fruit salad sprinkled with lemon thyme, eucalyptus and dolly mixture. The texture was now akin to olive oil, quince paste perhaps, revealing notes of lemon and a warm summer afternoon in the garden.