Secret Islay malts are seen regularly among independent bottlers these days. Especially the 1989-1992 vintages seems to deliver some excellent, complex drams. Most of these come from Allied blending stocks, with Laphroaig as our prime suspect.
The Whisky Agency recently presented a Secret Islay Malt 1990 as part of its latest bottling series.
Secret Islay Malt 31 yo 1990 (51,5%, The Whisky Agency 2022, hogshead, 252 btl.)
Nose: wet wool, mineral notes and leather, as well as some waxy / fatty notes (sunflower oil) and faded ashes. Lime and a hint of pineapple. Fresh oil paint. Bright mint comes out as well. Whiffs of sea breeze in the background.
Mouth: more medicinal now. The antiseptics, embrocations and saline pungency quickly take the lead. Then mid-palate this makes place for fruity notes, like grapefruit, passion fruit and wee hints of guava. A few olives in brine and bitter almonds, leading to herbal tea in the end.
Finish: long, with citrusy notes, verbena and hints of iodine. Still this coastal salinity in the very end.
Not entirely unexpected, this is a great whisky. It starts gentle and refined on the nose, but becomes more intensely coastal and powerful on the palate. In short, an almost theatrical development. Of course at € 650 it isn’t exactly a no-brainer, but the quality is high. Available in several shops around Europe.