The bottle has “gold” written on it, and is the colour of gold compared to the silver in Gibson’s Sterling. It’s interesting because it seems as if they can’t quite decide what to do with the “gold” label – is it a part of the name, or not? This whisky is an extremely popular duty free whisky as it is not easy or impossible to find in the States.
Nose: I get some caramel, and I pick up a fair bit of corn and some fruit like plum. There’s vanilla and there are bourbon notes which come off this nose, as well as some oak in the background. There’s a light touch of bitterness and sourness detracting from the nose, but they are quite light – however upon multiple tastings I found that it dominated too much. Like the other Gibson whiskies, there’s lots of creaminess to this nose. Amidst all else going on I nearly missed the rye which is sitting obviously in the middle of it all lightly directing the show. I find the nose doesn’t improve with time but grows a bit stale and bitter, which is too bad. 23/30 (77%)
Taste: Thick, creamy and slightly sour with a citrus backdrop and a good kick of oaky vanilla and a touch of maple-like woodiness. At the end some dusty rye and spices kick in – clove and even a bit of allspice. The sourness/acidity is intriguing as it is a bit different and doesn’t go too far in one direction. There is a bit of bitterness right on the end – it isn’t horrible and I can’t decide whether I like it or don’t, which likely means that it will grow on me as I drink further. Tasting this whisky was odd – the first time I drank this I was quite impressed, but the second time and third time it appeared bitter and out of balance, and even upon comparing with Gibson’s Sterling I found this to be inferior. 22.5/30 (75%)
Finish: At first the spices take hold for a reasonable length before there’s some light dryness and oakiness remaining in the mouth, along with a touch of rye. The length and weight of the finish is quite decent, but the flavour could be improved. 16/20 (80%)
Conclusion: This is smooth, thick, and easy drinking other than the touch of bitterness here and there. However, the whisky is a bit of an enigma to me – the first tasting was very impressive (probably would have come out in the low eighties), but the second and third time there was a lot of bitterness , staleness and it was way out of balance – and even tasting beside Gibson’s Sterling I found this to be inferior upon two tastings. I’ve never had such a different tasting experience two days in a row, even after conditioning my palate the same way each time. However, I’m standing with the scores from my two later reviews. 15/20 (75%)
Overall: 76.5 /100