Secret Highland 36 1983 The Whisky Agency

Thanks to /u/ScotchGuy_TO  for the dram.

Spent a day out and about for my wife, what with loving her and all and it being her birthday. After driving around quite a bit, we sojourned to a friend’s house, sat back, and he poured me a dram. That dram? Albert Einstein. And then everybody clapped. Wait, no, wrong story.

What he poured me was Secret Highland 36 1983 The Whisky Agency, which is why I started the story well before all of this because what can I say about “Secret Highland”? It’s a secret. There’s rumours, sure, that this is Tomatin. Great. Cool. Those are rumours. That’s the best thing I have to write about. Most of the time something that is marked as Secret Highland is a Clynelish. That’s just how it normally goes. But this? No one is saying Wax and more Wax over and over, so there’s some trepidation.

So we have a Hogshead aged 36-year-old single malt that is from the Highland region. That’s the best I have. So how does it taste? Let’s see, shall we?

Price: $700 CAD

Region: Highland

Vintage: 1983

Bottled: 2019

Cask type: Hogshead

Abv: 48.2%

Colour: 10YR 5/8

Nose: Raspberry, butterscotch, lilac, roast corn, limestone

I’m going to say this off the bat: It’s a grower, not a shower. No Mr. Holmes up in this one. Which is for the best, because I’m pretty sure he caused a bunch of murders, and last I checked those were bad.

Fruity, some floral, some roast/smoke, and very distinct mineral notes. Grew on me. I was all judgey at first, because I’m trash, but thank goodness I had the time to let it grow.

Taste: Honey, cardamom, charred meat, cayenne, blueberry, vanilla

Alright, soft nose, then we get to the main event, the rest: An interesting, smoke, herbal, and sweet taste. Continuing with some of the floral elements, the smoke/heat is there, and there’s pops of acidity, sweetness, and vanilla.

It’s like a really, really good baklava after having some charred meat. I’d say Gyro but maybe that’s too herbed up. It’s good. I like. Is tasty. There.

Finish: Hazelnut, salted caramel, Chai tea, blueberry, red grape

Bit of salt, bit of nuttiness, and goes in a different direction again. There’s a finish like the cocktail “Blueberry Tea”, which you may think has blueberries and you’d be wrong.

Conclusion: Before I delve into the final thoughts on this, I should note when reviewing the stats for this whisky to ensure I wrote it all down correctly, I noticed other reviews mentioned some wax. I’m wax blind, it usually pops up as floral/honey to me. So please keep that in mind, and my review includes my inability to note the wax means I’m missing part of the picture.

The rest of the whisky? Really tasty. It’s not going to blow your mind at first sip. Far from it. It’s going to slowly open up and grow. It’s going to surprise you. Nothing is unique or crazy, it’s a simple Hogshead whisky given the time it needed to really grow and open up. You could pour this for any whisky fan and they’d be in hog’s heaven. So grab it if you can.


Scotch review #1559, Highland review #264, Whisky Network review #2281

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