Michiel Wigman, for those of you that don’t know the man, is a very famous Dutch whisky collector. He’s been one of the founders of ‘Dutch Whisky Connection‘ and is lovingly known as ‘Mr. Springbank’ to whisky fanatics across the globe.
If you’ve ever been to a whisky festival in The Netherlands or Germany, you’ve probably seen his stand filled to the brim with the mose fantastic old bottles, varying from a few Euro per centiliter, to sometimes five tenners for a drop of liquid gold.
Every time my and my in-laws go the the Hielander Whisky Festival in Alkmaar, we always agree to ‘end up’ at his stand. However, over the years, ending up has changed from ‘the last half hour’ to at least an hour and a half.
Anyway, it’s safe to say I know to trust the man and his palate. Only one dram of the dozens and dozens I’ve bought from him was disappointing (an Old Guns blend from the 1970s).
One thing changed in early 2020, though: There suddenly were bottlings of casks selected by Michiel Wigman. Of course, I had already spent all my money on random stuff I now don’t even remember, so it had to be a bottle-share. By the time I had arranged that, the ‘Secret Highland’ had sold out and I only got a sizeable share of the Teaninich 19.
I didn’t want to miss out on future releases, so I signed up for the participation programme, and last week two new bottles were delivered: A ‘Secret Speyside’ from 1993, and this 15 year old Croftengea. Peated Loch Lomond, from someone like Michiel Wigman. It’s short to say I was surprised. My experiences with anything from Loch Lomond (except a few Inchmurrins, also bottled by friends) has been quite the let down. Often the spirit is watery without much flavor to it.
And now, the man with, maybe, the palate I respect most, selects a cask from exactly that distillery. Might my prejudice be wrong?
The peat is very timid for a 15 year old, heavily peated whisky, with mostly earthy aromas. Briny, dried sea weed, a beach bonfire. There’s a hint of goat’s cheese, some unfamiliar spiciness and star fruit. Rather crisp, with hay and menthol.
The palate is gentle, and sits just under 50% (my sweet spot, I think). There’s a hint of vanilla, with earthy peat and some coastal flavors behind it. A slightly cheese like flavor again, not unlike pecorino. That sharpness, with quite a lot of salinity. Eel grass, sand. Quite beach-y.
The finish is slightly more highland like, with more oak and more fiery peat. Bonfire and a hint of charcoal. Barley ears, white oak and nice, salty smoke.
I didn’t really know what to expect, but I think this is a whisky that tastes a bit more mature than I expected. It’s not unlike 18-ish year old Talisker in style, and since that’s something I quite like, I’m a happy camper.
It’s quite complex, with the combination of coastal style with highland influences (or the other way around). Very enjoyable indeed! And a good pick by Mr. Wigman!
I’m very much looking forward to what’s to come!
Available through the Dutch Whisky Connection webshop for € 120