Served in a wide rimmed tulip. This 2015 vintage barley wine pours a rusted copper hue with a thin sheet forming across the top. What little head there was quickly diminished and leaves a ring around the edge of the glass. To our surprise though, it still manages to weave some wet and spotty lace as we imbibe. Our first impression of this aroma is just rich and cloyingly sweet. The dominant scents are caramel and toffee with a pronounced port character to back it up. Very heavily layered with sweet residual sugars and then again with sweet dried fruits like apricot, dates and fig. An evident alcohol warmth further intensifies the somewhat fortified wine characters and reinforces the fact that this is a beer to sip slowly on. The beer rolls over the tongue quite easily we must admit. It’s not watery or thin but it does have a flat tannin that features when drinking wine. A little sticky in texture as a reasonable alcohol (9.5%) warmth develops after the swallow. The front palate offers an intricate marriage of woody oak, chewy toffee, subtle spicy notes and fortified wine. An alcohol warmth emphasizes them all and carries a residual sugary sweetness in to the mid. Hints of port, dates and rich toffee prevail and lead to a robust finish that provides a lightly toasted, sweet and caramelized aftertaste on the rear. Initially we were a little put off by the intense artificial sweetness but as it warmed it developed a more complex and robust oak and fortified wine flavour. We’ve only laid this down for a year and even now we’re thinking we popped it a bit too prematurely. If you still have one unopened our advice is to leave it and return in another year. Another twelve months will surely reward it.