Whisky Reviews

Whisky Review #86 – Edradour 2002 Single Cask

Picture of Bottle and Cask details – Courtesy of a friend

Edradour is a fascinating distillery as we have discovered in an earlier post. A friend had given me a pretty sample of an Edradour single cask some time ago, so I think this is the best time for me to drink and post some tasting notes. It is my first whisky from Edradour, and I am excited to get going!

So here are the details of the single cask.

Edradour 2002 13 Years Old
Distilled: 28/08/2002
Bottled: 01/10/2016
Cask No: 1412
Outturn: 700 bottles

Note: The liquid is 13 years old as stipulated by the regulations of SWA – the bottled date does not add up to 14 years in total.

Tasting Notes:

Colour: Dark Gold
ABV: 54.6%

Nose: Caramel and peppery spice surface almost immediately with some dark, ripe fruits in the background. After aeration of five minutes, intense dark chocolate notes triumph over the caramel and push the spice into the background. There are hints of raisins and cherries floating around, but the dark chocolate notes overwhelm the other notes most of the time. (16/20)

Palate: There is an initial bite of the spice, and then caramel leads the way in the mouth, with dark chocolate and raisins coming soon after. Warm peppery spice reappears in the back, coating the back of the mouth and the throat pleasantly. The mouthfeel is oily and creamy with faints hints of oak at the tail end of the palate. (17/20)

Finish: Long finish with an increase in oakiness from the palate. The sweetness of the raisins follows closely, and the creaminess of the whisky coats the mouth thoroughly. Some caramel notes appear shortly and linger long into the end of the finish. (17/20)

Body: It is a balanced dram with a sherried profile. Approachable and easy to drink, even at 54.6% abv, this single cask Edradour is an ideal whisky to introduce to drinkers who are exploring higher abv drams. (33/40)

Score: 83/100

Comments:

Geek Flora: This is not a bad whisky; in fact, I like it for its balance and the gentle sherry notes. However, it is slightly one-dimensional and not as challenging as expected. Mellow and approachable, I think this is perfect for whisky drinkers who are starting out on their journeys for a higher abv dram. 

Geek Choc: This is a typical sherry whisky but not a sherry bomb. The dark chocolate notes are memorable though. It is too easy to drink at 54.6%. The price point is another contender for the lower score. While it is not an expensive bottle, it is not the price of a “daily dram” too.  Nonetheless, it is a lovely whisky that I enjoyed! 

Disclaimer:

This sample is part of the last drops in the bottle. It might not be the exact reflection of the whisky but should be close enough. The bottle is probably opened for about 3-4 months.

Whisky Review #85 – Rosebank 20 Years Old (Zenith Italia)

Rosebank generated a lot of buzzes recently with the news of its revival as well as the upcoming release of its new bottling. Since we have yet to hear news of the new release, we are satisfying our craving for its beautiful liquid from the old stocks! What we have here is a sample of a Rosebank 20 Years Old distilled in the 1970s by the Zenith Italia S.A.S Import. We bought this sample at TMA Vol. 1 and have only recently tried this.

Let’s look at the review now.

Tasting Notes:

Colour: Gold
ABV: 57%

Nose: Sharp cinnamon and nutmeg spices lead the way before green apples and pears surface. After two minutes of airing, it turns grassy (like a sweet meadow) and melon sweetness appears! Wow! (18/20)

Palate: Cinnamon spice leads the way again but nutmeg is nowhere to be found. It has an oily mouthfeel and light green fruits appear on the palate. The melon sweetness that we got in the nose appears for a brief while and disappears too quickly. There is also a slight alcohol burn down the throat that lasted almost a minute. After airing for a while, the oak influence comes in and the side of the tongue gets some bitterness. The sweetness returns after that to create a sweet taste in the middle of the tongue, but the fruitiness does not reappear. It is a little disappointing as the palate does not deliver what the nose promises. (15/20)

Finish: The finish is relatively long with the sweetness lingering briefly. Oak influence rushes in to overwhelm the sweetness soon after, making the long finish astringent and slightly bitter. (16/20)

Body: It is a relatively balanced dram but not impressive to wow. A one-dimensional dram with a disappointing palate and a beautiful nose. (31/40)

Total Score: 80/100

Comments:

Geek Flora: “Well, I am greatly disappointed with the palate and finish. The nose promises such wonderful things but the palate and finish fall flat on it. It would be an impressive dram if the palate and finish follow through.”

Geek Choc: “Sigh, I had high hopes for this dram because the nose was pure bliss but I was disappointed with the palate. I wondered if we had aired it too long after purchasing the dram. We wouldn’t know it unless we tried this again from a full bottle, I suppose.” 

 

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Whisky Review #84 – Bowmore 14 Years – Cadenhead

Cadenhead is well known to everyone, and there is no need for us to do a further introduction. Cadenhead bottles some of the most excellent whiskies in their series of Cadenhead Small Batch and this bottle under review is one of them.

The bottle is a Bowmore 14 years old in a dumpy bottle. It looks gentle and invites the drinker to taste it. So we took the bait and ordered a sampling of this expression.

Tasting Notes:

Colour: White Wine
ABV: 46%

Nose: Gentle spice floats into the nose before zesty citrus fruits follow. Green fruits develop after a while and add complexity to the nose. We detect zero peat at first, but light peat begins to surface after about 15 minutes of airing. (16/20)

Palate: Sweet, zesty, citrusy fruits explode in the mouth with some gentle spice in the background. Slightly lemony with no smoke or peat initially. A soft peat surfaces after 15 minutes of airing and lingers at the back of the throat. It feels like having a cigar at the back of the throat, in a pleasant way. (17/20)

Finish: Medium long at first with fruity sweetness. The impressive punch of the finish comes after 15 minutes of airing when the finish lengthens stunningly, and it becomes fragrant peat smoke all the way! (17/20)

Body: A relatively balanced dram but it can be better. I wonder if the flavours will be stronger if the abv is higher? The liquid improves with 15 minutes of airing and expands beautifully after that. Perhaps it will benefit from more oxidation in the bottle. (33/40)

Total Score: 83/100

Comments:

Geek Flora: My impression of Bowmore is that of gentle peat. This expression is entirely consistent with my idea of a Bowmore, but I feel it could be better if the abv is higher. It is likely that the whisky is too watered-down for the flavours to develop fully. Lots of patience is needed for this dram. 

Geek Choc: I cannot taste the peat. It is not something a peathead will be happy with, but I guess it improves with airing. Love the explosion of smoke and peat after 15 minutes of airing. 

 

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Whisky Review #83 – Port Charlotte 2002 – MoS

Malts of Scotland (MoS) is probably not a stranger to you if you are a fan of independent bottlers. MoS is a consistent award winner as an independent bottler and has won many different awards across the whisky industry. The most prestigious of all awards is likely the “Independent bottler of the year”.

Thomas Ewers heads MoS and earns the reputation of a “whisky talent” at a young age. His first foray into whisky was in 2003 when he had his first single malt. The second dram of a 10-year-old Aberlour sealed his fate as a whisky lover and eventually an independent bottler.

The bottle under review today is a Port Charlotte distilled in 2002 and bottled in 2013. Matured in a bourbon hogshead, it has been known to give rise to tasting notes such as “baby vomit”, “rotten milk” and “spoiled milk” at the bar where we had this.

With such a fascinating reputation, let us get started to see if we can find the “baby vomit”.

Tasting Notes:

Colour: Amber
ABV: 57.4%

Nose: Smokey and sweet. Dark, dried red fruits with smoke. It is gorgeous indeed. The nose boasts of notes typical of a sherry cask, but this is a bourbon hogshead! Isn’t that amazing? Raisins, dried figs, stone fruits are all presented in the nose. Sweet and beautiful indeed! (17/20)

Palate: Sweet and flavourful, with smoke in the background developing beautifully as we drink. Raisins, sultanas, figs and cranberries combined in a sweet and fruity palate. Hints of raspberries are detected in the back of the throat. That sourness from the raspberries may be the answer to the “baby vomit” and “spoiled milk”! (18/20)

Finish: Long and smokey! Cranberries and raisins linger forever and ever. Gets a little dry after a while and almost feel like an elegant, old red wine. (18/20)

Body: This is balanced brilliantly. The smoke is consistent from the nose to the finish. Add the raisins and dark fruits, and you get a divine drink! (36/40)

Total Score: 89 points

Comments:

Geek Flora: Well, well, well, this is an exciting tasting of a Port Charlotte. I like the uniqueness of this whisky, and it is an excellent example of how independent bottlers can make a whisky better.

Geek Choc: I must be honest and say that I am in the camp of those who think of “baby vomit” when I tried this PC. Not my favourite for sure. 

 

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Whisky Review #82 – Littlemill 22 Years Old (WhiskyBase)

 

Some of you may know that I have a strong love for Littlemill. I never passed a chance to try new expressions from this closed distillery. I was again, given an opportunity recently, when I got to taste a Littlemill.

This expression is distinctive on its own. It is a bottling from WhiskyBase, in celebration of their 40,000 bottles on the wall. Matured in a bourbon hogshead, it is a 22 years old whisky distilled on 20th Dec 1990 and bottled 10th Feb 2013. Not quite a 23 years old whisky, so as per SWA’s rules, its label reads 22 years old.

Let’s dive straight into the notes!

Tasting Notes:

Colour: Bright Gold
ABV: 56%

Nose: Hmm…a typical Lowlands nose with aromatic dried grass. Floral and perfumey, almost like sniffing a particular brand of perfume. Sweet pears, melons and berries dance gracefully in the nose. Warm spice lurks underneath, waiting for its turn to dance. (18/20)

Palate: Sweet fruits – pears, apples, melons and berries – explode in the mouth. The sweet overtones bounce all over with warm spices catching up in the background. The floral, grassy notes come last, rounding up the perfect and typical Littlemill notes. Warm spice tingles in the back of the throat pleasantly. (18/20)

Finish: Medium finish with dried grassy notes that become herbaceous after a while. Sweet and perfumey all the way, the finish boasts pleasant spice that lingers comfortably while it lasts. (17/20)

Body: This is a typical Littlemill that boasts the usual grassy notes, but what is worth noting here is that instead of the fresh grass that we usually find in Littlemill, this expression features grassy notes of dried grass! The fruitiness is beautiful and welcoming to anyone who is a Lowlands fan. Excellent mix of spice, fruits and grassiness to make an unforgettable whisky. While it does not have the most exciting profile, it has the strength of the character from Littlemill Distillery. (37/40)

Total Score: 90/100

Comments:

Geek Flora: I love this! It features the characteristics of Littlemill without taking on too much character from the bourbon hogshead. I simply adored the grassiness of this dram!

Geek Choc: Well, it is nice, but I think I prefer something a little sweeter. A bourbon hogshead is too mild for me. Maybe a sherry cask Littlemill will do the trick! 

 

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Whisky Review #81 – Clynelish 1970 31 Years Old (OMC)

Clynelish – a name that resounded with Brora – is an underrated whisky that whisky drinkers do not talk about. The irony of the phenomenal is the fact that Brora was the old Clynelish. How? The original Clynelish distillery completed construction in 1819 and ran its stills until 1967. The original distillery closed as the owners built a new distillery for Clynelish. Unfortunately, (or should we say, fortunately), there was a shortage of peated whisky for blending in 1969, and hence, Diageo reopened the old distillery, renamed it Brora and distilled a heavily peated spirit between 1969 to 1973.

This expression of Clynelish is exquisite. Distilled in September 1970, it slept in an oak (bourbon?) cask for 31 years before getting a finish in a sherry cask for a minimum of 6 months. Bottled in September 2001, it is officially a 31 years old whisky at cask strength. It was so exciting to try it finally!

Let’s check out the review!

Tasting Notes:

Colour: Gold
ABV: 48.4%

Nose: Liquorice and mineral notes lead the way while caramel, vanilla and sweet barley lurk in the background. Spice moves around like a roving circus on a good day. It has a fascinating nose. (18/20)

Palate: Ooo…this is oily! There is a perfect combination of minerals and spice at the first sip. The second sip reveals liquorice and sweet barley as they coat the palate. Caramel and vanilla come last, completing the different layers of flavours together in a complex and excellent mouthfeel. (18/20)

Finish: Long and tannic like a lovely wine. Sweet barley, caramel and vanilla close the finish perfectly, bringing the complexity to a satisfying conclusion. (18/20)

Body: Superb balanced dram! I love the touch of sweet barley that lingers on and on from the palate to the finish. The sherry influence is evident in the liquorice nose that appears consistently in the nose, palate and finish. This expression seems to support my theory that bourbon-matured whisky finished in sherry casks are some of the best whiskies around. (38/40)

Total Score: 92 points

Comments:

Geek Flora: Oh my God, this is possibly one of the best Clynelish that I had tried. The other Clynelish expression that I love is from Douglas Laing’s XOP series Clynelish 1995 21 Years Old. 

Geek Choc: Hmm…this is a very good Clynelish to be sure. The flavours blend so well together that I think I might have fallen in love without knowing it!

 

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Whisky Review #80 – Omar Peated CS with Mcd Chocolate Pie

McDonald’s launched their famous chocolate pie on March 1st in Singapore and long queues formed outside many of the outlets for the next few days. While many fans choose to queue for this decadent chocolate pie, lazy me decided to order for McDelivery instead. So, the chocolate pie came, and I was so excited to try it that I decided to leave the “Fish & Fries” (also new) aside. I needed to try this pie first while it was piping hot!

The first bite into the crust confirmed what I suspected all along. I needed to pair this with a peated whisky! The pie’s crust was slightly bitter when I took the first bite, but the delicious flow of molten chocolate made the whole experience great! So, I hunted around for a peated whisky to pair it with. I rejected a Laphroaig bottle because it is a PX cask, and finally settled on the Omar Peated Cask Strength Whisky, which matured in a bourbon cask.

I was fully aware that what I was about to do was crazy, perhaps even sacrilegious!

Now, let’s see what happened.

Tasting Notes:

The Omar Peated is a gentle, lightly peated whisky full of creamy vanilla and some coconut. When I took a sip of the whisky after eating the pie, smoke burst forth in the mouth and enveloped the palate thoroughly. Then all the bourbon flavours followed after – creamy vanilla, coconut, malt and some tropical fruits danced happily together in the palate. The finish was spicy but elegant. I figured the spice was just the high abv showing its character.

Wow, that was quite an experience! I never thought that I would pair McDonald’s with any whisky, but there is always a first time!

The whisky, unfortunately, did not improve the pie much, except to make it less sweet. Nonetheless, I had an enjoyable dessert before eating my lunch properly, and that was what matters most! Hahaha!

Afterthoughts

Now that I opened a floodgate of pairing McDonald’s with whisky, I am looking forward to pairing something else from McD with whisky. What would be a good choice? Suggestions anyone?

Whisky Review #79 – Battle of Aberlour A’Bunadh Batch 19 & 20

Fans of Aberlour A’Bunadh loves the deep sherry and caramel notes of these beautiful sherry bombs. We know that these are favourites among many whisky lovers just by looking at the sheer number of releases of the Aberlour A’Bunadh. The current release appears to be Batch 61!

We tasted two older batches of the Aberlour A’Bunadh, namely Batch 19 and Batch 20. The liquids are quite different, which prompted us to do a battle of the Aberlour A’Bunadh – Batch 19 VS Batch 20.

How would they stack up against each other? Let’s find out!

The battle starts now:

Aberlour A’Bunadh Batch 19

Abv: 59.9%

Neat from the bottle
The nose is full of sweet sherry, cherry liquorice and caramel. There is a hint of raspberries (sourness) and blackcurrant sweetness hiding in the corners. Some spice lurks in the background, and no sulphur is detected. The mouthfeel is oily with sweet berries and spice mixing together at the first sip. The spice leads the way, which is unpleasant but it goes away quickly, leaving a burst of cherries and blackcurrant sweetness! The sweetness coats the mouth on the second sip to give superbly rich, sherried notes and caramel. Rich and fruity! The finish is slightly disappointing as it is not as long as expected. It gets a little dry towards the end but is enjoyable.

With a drop of water
The spice increases with a drop of water when we nose it. The sweetness does not change and still makes for a lovely nose despite the increased spice. The water dilutes the spice on the palate, making it acceptable with the first sip. The fruity sweetness takes full control, with the berries in the limelight. The sherry and caramel coat the mouth beautifully. The finish lengthens with a drop of water, which improves it by leaps and bounds. Even if the sweetness in the finish reduces, the water did wonder to the finish.

With 15 minutes of airing
Wow! The spice is almost gone, but the sweetness of sherry and caramel deepen. The dark berries dance around the nose playfully. The cherry liquorice and blackcurrants are exceptionally strong in the nose, but interestingly, the hint of raspberries intensify as well. Fantastic nose! The palate and finish did not change from the taste we get when we first try it neat from the bottle.

Conclusion
Batch 19 is exceptionally balanced with all the right notes in place for us. It is a typical sherry bomb, but with more surprises! The only thing that we did not like is the spice initially, but it improves with water and airing. It is very enjoyable indeed!

Aberlour A’Bunadh Batch 20

Abv: 60.5%

Neat from the bottle
Strong spice leads the nose and makes it almost impossible to get any other notes. There are caramel and sherry initially, but the spice overwhelms them almost instantly. We detect faint cherry notes and sulphur in the background, but nothing is certain. The palate is full of spice and caramel. The mouthfeel is drier than Batch 19, and the sweetness is a lot more mellow. While we get the caramel in the palate, the sherry notes are less prominent, making it a little disappointing. It almost feels like the whisky is somewhat flat. The finish is short and sulphuric! The caramel sweetness disappears in a flash and sulphur takes over completely.

With a drop of water
The spice becomes stronger, and the sweetness of the caramel, sherry and cherry is almost all but gone in the nose. It is quite horrible unless you happened to like rubbing chilli on the nose. Water does not seem to improve the palate in batch 20 as well. While the caramel appears to increase a little, but the change is minimal. The finish is still short and sulphuric with no changes even after a drop of water.

With 15 minutes of airing
Wow! Airing makes a lot of differences to the Aberlour A’Bunadh Batch 20. We detect no spice on the nose, and cherry liquorice replaces it. The sherry and caramel notes are also prominent now. In the palate, the spice returns in full force, but together with the spice comes the sweetness of the sherry and caramel. It is a beautiful combination! The finish is still disappointing though. While airing lengthens the finish, it causes it to become even more tannic and sulphuric.

Conclusion
The Aberlour A’Bunadh Batch 20 is rather disappointing. While it appears to be balanced, the notes that we get are not a typical sherry bomb. If we compare it to a sherry bomb, it lacks in many departments.

The Result of the Battle

We declare Aberlour A’Bunadh Batch 19 as the winner of this battle. The expression is more robust and balanced as compared to Batch 20 and honestly, much more pleasant to drink. The complexity is evident and beautiful to catch. On the other hand, Batch 20 appears to be more challenging and is less robust. The one thing that we dislike is definitely the sulphur that comes with it.

EXPERIMENT BY GEEK CHOC:

It is BLENDING TIME!

Geek Choc loves to mix things around. He is the unofficial mixologist at WhiskyGeeks, so he decides to mix things up after the comparison and see what happens. He pours 10ml of Batch 19 (with a drop of water) and 10ml of Batch 20 (with a drop of water) into a new glass. Now, let’s see what the notes are like!

Nose: Sweet caramel, sherry and dark berries with hints of muskiness and sulphur. Faint vanilla (what??) floats in the background with some spice.

Palate: Straight spice but it is not overwhelming like either of the drams on their own. Then surprise strikes! Strong vanilla taste appears for a while before strong sherry notes rush in at the back of the throat. There is cherry liquorice, caramel, dark raisins and berries hitting all the right spots. The mouth is warm and pleasant. Very yummy! Oh, and there is no sulphur!

Finish: It is long and sherried. Superbly pleasant but it does get very dry in the end. Sadly, the sulphur came back at the end too.

Body: Balanced! Wow, this seems like an experiment gone RIGHT! We thought batch 19 will overpower batch 20 but looks like batch 20 held its weight. The combination takes both whiskies’ good points and makes it excellent. That extra vanilla note was a real surprise too!

Conclusion for the blend:

Batch 19 is better than batch 20 as concluded earlier but batch 20 stood up to the test in a blend. The two batches also created a new profile when mixed, which is a pleasant surprise! We expected 19 to overwhelm 20, but looks like we are wrong, in a good way! Experience successful!

Whisky Review #78 – Linlithgow 1982 (SV)

 

Do you know the other name of Linlithgow? If your answer is Saint Magdalene, you are right! Recognized as one of the closed distilleries with fantastic golden liquid, Linlithgow invoked much excitement amongst whisky fans whenever a bottle of its whiskies surfaced in auction sites. The same enthusiasm arose in us when we saw its name on the menu in The Swan Song, and we wasted no time in ordering a dram of the liquid!

Signatory Vintage is the bottler of this particular expression of Linlithgow. Matured for 25 years in a wine-treated butt (cask #2201), Signatory Vintage bottled this expression in 2008 for La Maison du Whisky Collectors’ Edition.

Let us check out this dram now.

Tasting Notes:

Colour: Gold
ABV: 59.2%

Nose: At first, there is a strong peppery spice in the forefront that mixes with the sweet and fruity nose. After airing for some time, the spice disappears, and apricots (wow!) replaces the spice! The intense tropical fruitiness gets stronger, and the nose becomes so fragrant that we can’t help but to bring the glass to our mouths! (18/20)

Palate: Clean mouthfeel with sweet apricots and pears enveloping the mouth as we sip, taking us to a fruity, tropical island where all we want to do is sit and relax. It is incredibly fruity with hints of peppery spice that combines beautifully without being underwhelming. It is the abv talking, and we love it! (18/20)

Finish: The pleasant warmth from the peppery spice as we swallow is comforting, reminding us of the higher abv and why we are enjoying this dram so much. The medium to long finish is full of sweet tropical fruits, bringing us right back to that fruity, tropical island that we were in when we first tasted the liquid. (18/20)

Body: This is a fantastic dram to be sure! Superbly balanced with a right combination of pepper and fruity flavours, it is an exciting dram to try. Words cannot justify the experience, and you just got to try it to understand why we love it. (37/40)

Total Score: 91/100

Comments:

Geek Flora: “Well, if I did not know this is a Linlithgow, I might think that it is a Littlemill. The dram showcased its Lowlands’ characteristics well and is an excellent expression to start.”

Geek Choc: “Hmm…I think this is fantastic. It is my first time trying an St Mag, and I am not disappointed! I will try more moving forward.”

 

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Whisky Review #77 – Rosebank 20 Years Old (Silver Seal)

Rosebank…the distillery that is resurrecting in the near future. Most of us who have tasted the exquisite liquid from this distillery are likely to remember it for a long time to come. That sweet, floral oaky taste stays for a long time and remains etched in our memories.

The bottle for review today is a 20-year-old expression from the Silver Seal Company. Part of the Sestante Collection, it is a single barrel with an outturn of 298 bottles. The distillery distilled the liquid in 1990 and Silver Seal bottled it in 2011.

Let’s check out the notes!

Tasting Notes:

Colour: Honey Gold
ABV: 56.7%

Nose: Perfume, sweet, floral perfume wafts up the nose before sweet honey, musky oak and fresh tropical fruits rush in. A pleasant aroma of freshly cut flowers remains in the background even as warm spice creeps in. (18/20)

Palate: Hmm! Sweet raw honey, fresh fruits and flowers float the palate with the first sip. Warm spice appears with the second sip at the back of the throat, but the floral sweetness remains, bringing an enjoyable experience of a high abv whisky. (18/20)

Finish: It has only a medium finish, but the impact is impressive! The sweetness of the honey and fresh fruits lingers till the end while the spice completely disappears. (17/20)

Body: Oh boy! What a balanced dram! The floral sweetness follows through from nose to palate to finish, while the spice does a disappearing act in the finish! It is truly a pleasant dram to drink! (37/40)

Total Score: 90/100

Comments:

Geek Flora: “When I first tried this, I thought to myself, “Wow, did I just drink some perfume?” It was an interesting experience with the floral sweetness that remained me of a DKNY perfume that I used to like! It is a beautiful and balanced dram indeed, but I do wish that the price can be a little less steep!”

Geek Choc: “Wow! Just wow! I love Rosebank! That perfumey sweetness is perfect for me! I love everything about this whisky, except the price that I had to pay for it! Hahaha!” 

 

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