This particular whisky is matured solely in casks that used to hold oloroso sherry, and it's bottled at cask strength with no chill-filtering.
Compare this review to my previous review of the A'bunadh Batch 29.
Aberlour A'bunadh Batch No. 35, 60.3% ABV
Single malt Scotch whisky (Speyside)
Nose: Wood, spices, sugary cake frosting, and citrus fruits (lemon?). Like Batch 29, it singes your nose hairs the first time you sniff it. And the second.
Palate: On the first sip, it tastes like some unaged malt spirit I have (bright fruits, but not in an especially good way). There's a bit of sherry late, but it's completely overridden by that new-make flavor up front. On the second sip, the sherry spice and fruitiness is more apparent.
Finish: Alcohol with a hint of sherry.
Rating (of 100): 74. It might be because it's such a high alcohol content, or it could be very young (or both), but this hardly struck me as a heavily-sherried whisky. I think the Batch 29 was much more sherry-rich.
Adding water definitely helps it, though. I added about 1:3 water to whisky and it brought out more mature fruits in the nose and subdued the new-make character on the palate, preserving a rich fruitiness. My rating for the whisky as-is stands, but I would probably rate it in the mid-80s with water.
After rating this and then reading some other folks' reviews of it, most of us seem to agree that it needs water. Other people are still finding a lot more character to the whisky without water than I am, though. Eh well...I guess that's what makes tasting fun!