Domaine Cutxan 15 Year 2006 50.5% for Grape of the Art / L’encantada

Nose: I used to store fresh cherries in a container with bourbon and cinnamon shavings in the freezer, and then drop them into drinks, or into the fermenter when brewing cider. When the whimsy took me, I’d add a star of anise. I miss brewing. Yesterday, I accidentally poured cold sparkling water into the mug I had dregs of David Rio tiger spice chai. Turns out, chai in sparkling water isn’t far off from a craft cola. The light element of nutty earthiness approaches cooked wild rice with plump raisins. And a violet floralness on the finish. This is a sweet tooth nose.

Palate: Vague brown sugar sweetness quickly vanishes into bitter town. A sorrel sauce on salmon. Or lavender oil added to a cookie. Or when you leave star anise or cloves too long in something and the oiliness overpowers the palate. I almost gave up on the pour entirely, but this actually gets interesting with a big mouthful and swishing it around like mouthwash. The oak gets more robust and chocolate cherries burst forth.

Rating: 5 / 10 – The nose is lovely and takes me to some great sweet bourbons. The palate really wasn’t hitting the right notes, but as I sat with it, it grew on me a touch, creeping from a 4 to a 5. I got this in a small bottle labeled “Try Me”. I’m not even sure if this is a rum or a brandy, but it slightly reminds me of a John Dore Still. Okay, reveal – it’s official – this is my 4th blind Cuxtan single cask someone has sent me. I simply don’t like the profile of the domain. I’ll have to accept being the odd one out on this. But this is the best Cuxtan I’ve had to date. But still… blah.