Secret Series no.1 tasting by Neil Ridley
By Neil Ridley, Drinks Writer and Presenter on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch (@worldsbestspirits)
Soooo… back at the grindstone and it’s time to start going through some of the exceptional releases which arrived at WBS. This one is an absolute cracker!
@vintage_bottlers may not be a name many of you are familiar with, but this inaugural release firmly and confidently sets out the company’s stall. A 30 year old highland single malt (no distillery named, but the tasting notes below might help to give the game away,) which was distilled in December 1990 and bottled in August 2021. The cask – presumably a sherry butt or hogshead- has yielded 325 bottles and it’s bottled at 47.5%.
Nose: A very pleasing array of classic notes you would hope to find in something three decades old: rich nuttiness, cedar wood, polished furniture, a distinct floral waxiness, sponge cake, heather honey, almond oil and a touch of amontillado sherry. It’s beautifully well rounded, soft and inviting.
Palate: Viscous and oily at first, with a little prickle coming after. Think cinnamon, cloves, dark chocolate, then a touch of something sweeter: Turkish Delight, bonfire toffee and a little herbal dryness as you dig deeper. It’s complex, robust and yet not overpowering in any way.
Finish: Dry and lingering, with a touch of black cherry, spicy oak and more dark chocolate.
Over all, this is a terrific way to see in the new year: a fireside dram of depth and complexity, which you can properly unwind with, and rather unlike the New Year’s resolutions we all try and fail to keep, it certainly delivers a calming and honest consistency with every mouthful.