Vital Stats: 135.4 proof, 13 years old
Nose: Dense and fruitcakey, there’s lots to smell here: prunes, candied nuts, dark caramel, and dates. But there’s also something a bit floral – rose and violet, maybe a bit of tomato leaf, like a greenhouse in full, wet bloom. There’s also definitely an ethanol burn, triggering a tingly, black pepper-like burn in the nostrils.
With a little water, everything’s amplified: the aroma’s sweeter, the fruit’s fresher, and floral/leafy aspects are fleshed out into a full bouquet.
Palate: William Larue Weller starts off sweet and creamy in the entry, with flavors of butterscotch and shortbread, before ramping up to a growing, peppery warmth in the midpalate. A lovely long finish showcases notes of dried figs, clove, and a mysterious savoriness – curry, perhaps? Undiluted, it’s strong, with a robust although not totally unpleasant burn. Punchy and spicy, it’s not overwhelmingly oaky – everything remains in balance.
With water, the fruit character assumes more of a central role, plus a lovely nutty quality reveals itself, like roasted pecans lightly coated with demerara toffee.