APPEARANCE: Bright pale amber. Good beading. NOSE: A mellow nose, with soft, malty fruit loaf and dry marzipan, or almond oil. Plenty of fruit too, with a faint but appetising fruity acidity against a flinty backdrop; fresh grape, apple and pear or tinned peach, banana and maraschino cherry. After a while thereís a lighter, earthy, more herbal note (dried basil?). Water softens and cleans things, raising the fragrant scents, now accompanied by saddle soap. This develops towards waxy fruit; as in a cherry sponge cake, or juicy fruit gum. BODY: Rich at cask strength, softer with water. PALATE: Smooth and sweet, but with light acidity lending freshness, so from the off itís slightly mouth-drying and cooler than you might expect. Charred, with liquorice root and cinnamon in mulled wine. Overall, clean and clearly structured, with a slight mineral tang. Softer with water: now waxy notes and a vanilla egg custard-sweetness are offset by clove and hints of wood. FINISH: Medium length and warming, with some gingery spiciness. Smoother with water and drying, herbal, almost bitter, until marzipan returns in the aftertaste.