Secret Orkney 16, 2006-2022, Bourbon Hogshead, 48.2% – Wu Dram Clan

I am very bad at reading things in time. Or reviewing things in time, but that’s another discussion.

I knew this bottle was coming out due to the Wu Dram Clan making some noise about it on Social Media. Of course, I immediately decided I’d keep an eye on Passie voor Whisky’s website, since they’re the go-to dealer for bottles from the Clan.

What I should have done is read the whole announcement post and actually see that this would be available only to people who subscribe to their newsletter. Also, it was a very strange way of finding out I hadn’t subscribed to said newsletter.

So, apart from getting a sample in for reviewing, my window of actually getting my hands on a bottle had passed before I even realized what I had to do to buy one. A shame, as you’ll soon read.


To people frequenting this blog, or those who know me personally, it may not be a surprise that I am quite partial to Highland Park. Unfortunately, their official bottlings of high enough quality are out of my league, but those Secret Orkneys are quite rampant nowadays.

Of course, the whisky community has decided that all Secret Orkneys are Highland Park, since Scapa is hardly available in its regular form, let alone as indie bottlings.

Image from Whiskybase

Let’s dive in!

Sniff:
There’s a thick and sweet smokyness to it, like smoked honey. Heather and some oak too. There’s a sea shell salinity to it as well. It’s very Highland Park-y, but everything is amped up to 11. Very intense, but without the boozy heat.

Sip:
White pepper and sawdust at first. It mellows a bit to show hay, heather, honey. There’s smoke, but not a lot. The same goes for salinity. Wood, a minor note of tar.

Swallow:
The finish shows similar note to the palate, but is different in regard to balance. More white oak, more hay. Similar for heather and salinity.

It’s very hard not to compare this to the recent Whisky Nerds bottling (which IS still available), even though they are quite different. The ‘Nerds one, while still being very Highland Park-y, was a bit more cask driven, and showed more notes of fruit.

This one is more ‘terroir’ driven, with the whisky showing more of what is the situation on Orkney. Heather, coastal salinity, some smoke. Things like that.

I regret not getting a bottle even more after tasting it, since this is as gorgeous as the Whisky Nerds bottling. Very different, but equally good.

90/100

About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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