The Secret Islay (The Whisky Shop)

Last week I posted a look at a very brief stop at The Whisky Shop on Victoria Street in Edinburgh. Today I have a review of the 100 ml sample I purchased of their so-called Secret Islay cask. I say “so-called” because—as I noted last week—the gent attending to their store casks told us it was a young Bowmore before we’d even thought to ask. Less than 10 years old, I think he said it was. I got a taste and liked it enough to get a 100 ml sample. As I also noted last week, their store casks are not priced in line with what they are. This was £12, and that for a young whisky at 40%. Cadenhead’s seems like even more of a great deal by comparison; as I also noted last week, 500 ml of this would have cost me more than 700 ml of the far superior Cadenhead’s Campbeltown cask (a sherried Springbank). How do I know the Cadenhead’s Campbeltown cask was superior? I drank them both while up in the Speyside later that week and took these notes then.

The Secret Islay (40%; The Whisky Shop; from a purchased 100 ml sample)

Nose: Very Bowmore with the flowers and custardy fruit (melon etc.) along with some hand lotion, unfortunately. Some acidic smoke weaves its way through it all. The glycerine note disappears with time; a little creamier now. Creamier with a drop of water and there’s a hint of milky cocoa.

Palate: As on the nose but without the hand lotion and with a lot more smoke. Decent texture. Not much development with time. With water there’s some pepper; less positively, the hand lotion shows up here now.

Finish: Medium. Lemon and smoke and then a quick burst of more tropical notes. More peppery here too with water.

Comments: Small notes of hand lotion aside, this is pretty decent young Bowmore. Why they don’t bottle it at a higher strength, I don’t know. It would be better with just a few more ticks on the abv. It would need to be a lot better, anyway, to be worth the $16 I paid for these 100 ml.

Rating: 82 points.

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