As it turns out, this is not the first Secret Islay I review this week. It is not even the first Secret Islay at exactly 53.3% ABV I review this week! Not that I review that much, but merely a funny coincidence.
Anyway, apart from the more consistent ‘They Inspired‘ series, Michiel Wigman is also bottling several other things. There was a Prometheus, a bottling to remember Operation Market Garden, non-whisky things in the ‘Precious Moments’ series, and now this East meets West bottling, which was released together with The Malt Affair from Singapore.
Once again, there is no indication to what distillery produced this whisky, but in the grand scheme of things, this sort of bottling is quite singular anyway. As in, it won’t really match any distillery’s style.
Let’s just find out what it’s all about!
A combination of Tawny port and a gentle smokiness. Older Tawny in style, with more oak influence than its younger, more fruity and familiar style. Coastal smoke with some salinity and dried seaweed. Earthy peat too.
The palate has a rather typical Islay arrival. Quite some peppery bite, smoky peat, barley and a bit of oak. The Port is like a slightly fruity, but quite sweet and syrupy flavor chasing the whisky. They’re both present, but not really ‘together’.
However, since the Port doesn’t just appear every now and then I do find this quite interesting.
The finish initially leaves the port behind a little bit. It focuses more on barley, oak, smoke. Whisky flavors. Spirit flavors. There’s a touch of sweetness, but it’s not overpowering.
While the Port does make the whisky lose a bit of distillery character, and therefore makes the whisky a bit more generic, it leaves enough character to make this very much an Islay whisky. Quite a good one at that.
Much like this week’s Wu Dram Clan Secret Islay, it’s a very decent bottling, but I’m still having trouble matching the whisky, its age and its price tag.