Today’s Boutique-y Advent calendar dram offers us some sherried goodness from a ‘secret distillery’ based in Speyside. It doesn’t take much digging on the Interwebs to find out a little bit more – popular, purveyor of massively sherried whiskies and known for its independence. Bingo. This one is 9 years old and bottled at 51.7%.
Nose: Pronounced deep sherry influence – molasses, dark chocolate, rum-soaked raisins, prunes and sultanas. Fruit is berry-like and heavily reduced and is joined by freshly brewed coffee and a underlying nuttiness. Water heightens the coffee elements, but takes away some of the richness.
Taste: Weighty and full. Burnt caramel, heavily reduced fruits – now like jams and preserves – dark chocolate cake and liquorice. Prunes, figs, raisins again, and with some golden and maple syrups. Cask influence can be felt here with some cloves and light pepperiness. The addition of water really isn’t necessary here to my palate – it both reduces the weight of the dram, and lessens the impact of the deep stewed fruits.
Finish: Medium in length and offering some chocolate orange and clove spice.
Rather the Christmas in a glass this one – Secret Distillery No.1 9 year old doesn’t hold back on full, rich and bold sherried flavours. It also rather belies its relatively youth – you’d probably peg this a few years older than 9. If you’re a fan of deep and dark sherry flavours then this will be right up your alley. Personally, I enjoyed it most at full strength, where the flavour is full bodied, jammy and packed full of oloroso influence.