Tasting Notes: The Whisky Shop – The Secret Highland 10yo

There are several outlets of The Whisky Shop in the UK, and each one that I’ve visited has offered a great environment to sample and peruse many a malt. The shelves are full of big brands and small heroes all of which are brightly packaged, shelved by theme and fighting for your attention. One whisky that bucks this trend though is The Whisky Shop’s own bottling. These can vary from single cask bottlings of a unique dram to mystery bottlings from an undisclosed source. The whisky reviewed here is one such example of the latter available options, and has been lying in wait for me for a little longer than anticipated… Bottled at an unknown percentage, this “Secret Highland 10yo” is a single malt scotch whisky with an air of mystery about it. Originally distilled in June 2006 and bottled in August 2017, it was enjoyed mid April 2019. Was it worth the wait….? Let’s see….

 

The Whisky Shop – Secret Highlands 10yo

Nose

There’s an instant smell of peat coming out of the glass here. Not a mighty blast but a little waft. Supporting the gentle peat is a little briny note, that gives off bit of a coastal vibe. With a little time, the whisky gives off a sweet sugar cane smell, with a soft vanilla and creamy type flavour to it – with that little tang to it kind of reminds me of foam bananas?!

 

Taste

Wow. As soon as this touches the lips, it reveals such a soft texture, almost buttery. The peat and alcohol cause a little tingle on the tongue and a little vegetal note but it’s mostly about the sweet stuff here. Proper desserts too. Like a giant Eton mess style concoction of cream with fruits just poking through all supported by a soft, warming peat.

 

Finish

The booze only really shows itself on the finish and it delivers a delicious warming sensation.

 

Verdict

Well, this sets the mind racing. Where is it from? Does that matter? Yes? No? Ah! It’s creating its own existential crisis! When I finish the bottle, is it gone forever? It is such a nice and enjoyable whisky and given that I do not know what it is and how to possibly recreate it, then I used the opportunity to really take a moment to enjoy it and really appreciate it. It also made for a very interesting experience to try it without any preconceptions – is blind tasting the way forward? Maybe for the first dram or two. But then surely the knowledge is needed after that. Or maybe that says more about me than the whisky itself. But how would you know how to buy another? Would I buy another? Yes. That’s the only definite answer here. But I can’t. So, for now, I just have to enjoy the last half for what it is. I’d also like to give a massive thank you to the person who bought me this bottle as a gift. Another shout out to 20cl bottlings too. I’m fast realising that they are a great way to get a really good sample and feel for a whisky, without going “all in” when buying something you’ve never tried. If I had to guess, then I’d go with this being an Old Pulteney of sorts, but I’m probably way off (they don’t peat dry their barley for a start, but maybe its come from a previously peated cask like their recent Huddart release?). All in all this is a delicious meld of soft flavours that all complement one another and do not attack the senses, that I will look to savour over its final pours.

M

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