Alongside the excellent Ardmore 1988, Michiel Wigman recently released this Secret Islay 2007. A middle-aged dram from an undisclosed Islay distillery, matured or finished in a Monbazillac cask.
Monbazillac is a sweet wine influenced by Botrytis and produced in Aquitaine. The style is similar to Sauternes which is located 70 kilometers to the West.
Secret Islay 14 yo 2007 (51,7%, M. Wigman ‘They Inspired II’ 2021, Monbazillac cask, 355 btl.)
Nose: a mix of tarry notes and cigarette ashes with sweet grapes and syrupy red fruits, although there’s never a really winey side. Smoked bacon but also slightly medicinal notes and fisherman’s rope. Hints of hessian. Sweet roasted apricot perhaps, as well as a wee herbal note.
Mouth: more warm ashes and grassy smoke, with hints of brine, black pepper and aniseed. There’s a distinct sweet side to this, not really fruity but slightly candied nonetheless, with brown sugar. It must be the Monbazillac. Light iodine and hints of seaweed. More tar. Growing oak spice towards the end.
Finish: long, smoky, tarry and spicy, with sweet herbs and a slightly fragrant, Muscat-like edge.
A muscular and fairly medicinal style that hints towards Laphroaig or maybe Port Charlotte, here slightly transformed but also lifted by the Monbazillac cask, in a way that’s different from a sherry cask for instance. Interesting dram, available from Dutch Whisky Connection.