When Serge Valentin rewards a whisky with 92 points, you can bet your life it’ll sell out the same day. That’s what happened with the Secret Islay 2009 13 Years released recently by Michiel Wigman. Supposedly, it’s an Ardbeg. Indeed, that’ll do the trick.
The label adorns Roland Puhl, co-founder of the German whisky shop Malt Rarities, which stood at the cradle of The Whisky Fair, one of the most famous whisky festivals in the world. And I’m ashamed to say I’ve still never been. That should probably happen in the next year or two.
But first, a single malt from Michiel Wigman that is still available. A Longmorn 2011 10 Years from the Inspiring Friends series, featuring Hans Dilesse, who’s a big fan of the distillery’s output. Now, the reason this Longmorn is still available, would probably be its price. At 205 euro per bottle, that’s a tough pill to swallow.
Longmorn 2011 10 Years (52.4%, Michiel Wigman, 208 bts.)
Nose: Big initial hit of vanilla and sweet pastries combined with boiled lemon sweets. Hints of stewed apples too, as well as just a touch of chalk, a whiff of cloves, and plenty of mush bananas. Water draws out the citrus-y elements even further. Taste: A pleasant, creamy mouthfeel. Touches of cookie dough, peaches, and baked bananas, but it’s the citrus (grapefruit, lemons) that really stands out. There’s also a good pinch of white pepper. There are some gentle greener notes lingering in the background, accompanied by cloves and other oak spices. Finish: Medium length. Somewhat grassy, lingering lemons, and oak.
A Longmorn with some impressive fruity notes. I saved a small sip and drank it after I finished the Secret Islay, which highlighted the citrus-forward elements. If you have both whiskies at home, I’d highly recommend trying it 😉
Secret Islay 2009 13 Years (53.3%, Michiel Wigman, 250 bts.)
Nose: Rather gentle. Mature almost. It opens up on crisp notes of lemon and whiffs of tinned peaches, combined with chalk, petrol, bandaids, and nori. There’s an almost dry minerality here too. Lingering in the background are soft malty notes, like smoked barley husks, but also touches of dried grass and a sliver of iodine. Oh, and some sour beer too. Taste: Medium viscosity. Hints of ashy embers, charred lemon peel, and white pepper, but also just a briny overall feel. A whisper of iodine accompanied by wood smoke, salty oysters, and hemp ropes. Finish: Long and ashy with a few drops of seawater and lemon.
Very precise, very crisp, and very Ardbeg. A mature, balanced nose. The palate is livelier and more fitting of this single malt's age. And the finish is just very long and memorable. Although heavily-peated whisky will never become my preferred style, this was quite a treat.