Google Secret Single Malts from 2007 and rarest bonuses

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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

July 5, 2021



Summer Duets
Secret Single Malts from 2007 and rarest bonuses
Just two of them and then maybe some rare bonuses indeed, depending on our mood…

Secret Highland 13 yo 2007/2020 (52.7%, Les Grands Alambics, hogshead, 141 bottles)

Secret Highland 13 yo 2007/2020 (52.7%, Les Grands Alambics, hogshead, 141 bottles) Five stars
And another lovely original label. These secret highlands are often Clynelish and sometimes Glenmorangie, both being pretty close indeed. I mean, geographically. Colour: white wine. Nose: tense and tight, gritty and gristy, with nice grass, lemon peel and melon skin on top of some leaven bread. You may add a touch of pastis and crème de menthe, just the equivalent of one pinhead of each. With water: linseed oil, beeswax and a wheelbarrow of fresh barley, plus this sour touch that's always so pleasant in many young expressions of this make. Although 13 is not that young indeed, how time flies! Mouth (neat): waxy from the start, tight and yet with an oily mouthfeel and rather a lot of grass and fruit peel once again. Barley, lemon and tangerines. That the distillery would start with a C would not surprise me at all here. With water: yes, absolutely impeccable, with a sooty, earthy and peppery side that's not without reminding me of Old Clynelish. Finish: long, even waxier, always with this lovely lemon + grass combo. Flints, dough and paraffin in the aftertaste. Comments: I'm not well acquainted with the 2007s but I find this deeper than the 2010 or 2011s, which are more common. Oh well this is perfect malt whisky; indeed these stills are grand (and so is the receiver, ha.) Top malt for me.
SGP:562 - 90 points.

Secret Islay 14 yo 2007/2021 (51.7%, M. Wigman, Monbazillac cask,  355 bottles)

Secret Islay 14 yo 2007/2021 (51.7%, M. Wigman, Monbazillac cask,  355 bottles) Four stars
Monbazillac is one of those sweet wines they make in the south-west of France, here around the city of Bergerac. The best ones will remind you of Sauternes as they share more or less the same grape varietals and the same methods of production. The prices are extremely reasonable, in my humble opinion. Miles Davis on the label is very cool, I just hope this wee whisky is not full of mistakes (If you do a mistake, repeat it and everyone will believe you did it on purpose – Miles.) Colour: full gold. Nose: it totally reminds me of Jean Donnay's Islays that he sometimes used to finish in sweet wines such as Sauternes, Cadillac, Monbazillac, Cérons et al. That was under his Celtique Connexion label, and that was a long time ago. Just imagine you would deep-smoke a combination of ripe apricots, muscat, mirabelles and perhaps elderberries and guavas. Fun stuff. With water: it's funny that just like in some old vintages of these wines, quite some menthol and lime blossom would come out. Mouth (neat): one of those extremely unlikely combos that do actually work, in my opinion. The wine is loud but it's more its citrusy side that bursts out, so we're pretty fine. With water: and there, menthol and lime tee, a wee mushroomy side, apricot kernel oil (that's uncommon and watch the prussic acid!)… Finish: rather long, still very expressive and pretty well balanced. Comments: a very cool combo. Wondering about what Miles would have said, maybe 'repeat these mistakes, son!' ;-).
SGP:656 - 87 points.

So we said some bonus and indeed, speaking of secret malts and odd finishings, we've got something very special, extremely rare, and probably even 'illegal' (but who cares?)

Coilltean 14 yo 'Acacia Aroma' (46%, RW Duthie for Enoteca Creminati Brescia, cask #1, 1989)

Coilltean 14 yo 'Acacia Aroma' (46%, RW Duthie for Enoteca Creminati Brescia, cask #1, 1989) Five stars
Some crazy experiment conducted by Sig. Samaroli quite some years ago, bottled for the Enoteca Creminati, which is located in Samaroli's hometown, Brescia. So in 1986, some 12 yo malt whisky was selected in Scotland and further matured in four different 100l casks made out of four different woods: acacia, ash, cherry and mulberry. Of course many are dreaming of using such 'deviant' woods these days but with Scotch, that's verboten, unless you're ready to give up any such appellations. Colour: coffee with reddish hues. Nose: I'm not sure I would recognise acacia wood, while acacia honey, which I know well, is much, and I mean much lighter than this heavy and heady resinous concoction. How would I describe this? Say a blend with chestnut honey, chocolate, coffee, turpentine and pine resin. More or less. With water: oh, teak and sauna oils, hoisin sauce, umeshu… That's all lovely and indeed, rather a little Asian. I mean, perhaps not the sauna oils. Mouth (neat): very interesting. Big raisins upfront, then a pine-y development that would go from resin indeed, to cough medicine and some juicy red peaches. In truth, I would have said old armagnac, hand on heart. With water: what I don't quite know is if this baby was already some kind of sherry monster before it was transferred to acacia wood. Most probably. More wild armagnac, perhaps Ténarèze. Finish: long, and in the own words of Rowan Atkinson, 'very nice'. Comments: loved it, really. It's sometimes even a little mizunara-y, I'm wondering if this could be replicated in a way in some liberal whisky countries – but all countries have become whisky countries, have they not? You're right, perhaps not North-Korea. Yet?
SGP:552 - 90 points.

PS that was actually robinia, so pseudo-acacia.

Oh, while we're at it…

Coilltean 14 yo 'Ash Aroma' (46%, RW Duthie for Enoteca Creminati Brescia, cask #2, 1989)

Coilltean 14 yo 'Ash Aroma' (46%, RW Duthie for Enoteca Creminati Brescia, cask #2, 1989) Five stars
I know some eau-de-vie makers are using beech and, indeed ash, which is light in colour and, I believe, easy to cooper. The idea is rather to benefit from the proper 'maturing' effects of wood, without gathering much additional flavours, let alone dark colours. Having said that I'm sure whisky makers would shake their heads at the very idea of using wood not to flavour their juices (ha). Colour: a tiny tad lighter than the acacia. So, still very dark. Nose: ooh, old Glenlivet from some proper oloroso butt! Brilliant, with soups, coffee, cigars, pu-ehr, walnut wine, chestnut honey once again, fir cone smoke, marrow, umami… With water: and porcini! Mouth (neat): a marginally earthier old Glenlivet indeed, with loads of first-class oloroso sherry. I'll say no more. With water: or perhaps old Glen Grant? G&M, 1950s, Book of Kells labels? Finish: long, marvellous, with more marmalade and richer honeys. Honeydew. Fir honey from the Vosges mountains. Comments: utterly splendid. Not sure about what that ash did to this wee whisky, and I'm not even sure anyone would notice that 'something unusual happened to it', but there, it is a fab old-school sherried Speysider. But Glenlivet, Glen Grant or Longmorn? Shall we ever know? To be sipped while tapping your feet to Edoardo Bennato's number one hit, 1989's 'Viva la Mamma'.
SGP:551 - 92 points.

There were four of them in this little-known series, but we'll only try one of the two remaining expression. That would be the cherry…

Coilltean 14 yo 'Cherry-Wood Aroma' (46%, RW Duthie for Enoteca Creminati Brescia, cask #3, 1989)

Coilltean 14 yo 'Cherry-Wood Aroma' (46%, RW Duthie for Enoteca Creminati Brescia, cask #3, 1989) Four stars and a half
Our friends at Miclo here in Alsace do finish some of their Welche whisky in cherry casks, but that's not cherry wood, its oak that had been seasoned with cherry liqueurs and/or eau-de-vie… But this time, it is well cherry wood, which is hardwood as you know. To cooper cherry wood must be a nightmare… So sherry + cherry? Perhaps, let's see… Colour: back to darker, brandy de Jerez-like colours. Nose: even more presence than in the Acacia, but instead of pine and fir, it would rather gear towards tar, perhaps even latex, some peonies and hibiscus, hawthorn, very ripe damsons, wood soke, darker cigars, and… fresh coriander! That coriander came unexpected. Also paprika goulash… Good fun, really. With water: total umami this time, plus liquorice. Mouth (neat): my I'm getting cherries now… A trick of the mind? Morellos, kirsch, maraschino, all that… And even the almondy side from the stones, amaretto, marzipan… How funny and spectacular. With water: gets a wee tad more resinous. Finish: long and rather on very old cognac this time. Old cognac from old bottles… Comments: superb once again, but perhaps my least favourite within the bunch. A little sweeter than the others. We'll try to unearth the 'Mulberry Aroma' and report back, but I'm not sure we'll ever manage since these are so rare. What's sure is that Silvano Samaroli did something wonderful with this very unlikely series, back in 1986-1989. But should this really be 'illegal', by the way? And what's less traditional after all, using woods that are not quercus (which is not grown in the country anyway, Scottish oak being extremely scarce), or seasoning oak with unlikely liquids that were actually never aged in oak, let alone shipped in bulk to the UK?… Should that debate begin (again)?
SGP:651 - 89 points.


(Grazzie mille, caro Diego!)







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