They Inspired is a series of single cask releases by Michiel Wigman with some well and lesser known historical figures on the rather sober labels. This Secret Orkney from 1999 is obviously Highland Park, bottled by the Dutch Whisky Connection and depicts Soon Quinling on the label, who is also known as ‘the Mother of modern China’. She became an important figure in Mao Tse Tung’s communist Party. But enough history, let’s taste.
A rich nose on lemon juice, pebbles on the beach, chamomile tea and some exotic fruit in the guise of dried apricots. Shells on the beach and a note of brackish water give this malt it’s deserved maritime character. Typical Orkney peat, albeit subtle. I already realize I have something grand in my glass.
Nicely oily and surprisingly subtle floral notes, but then I get a sudden uppercut of peat, camphor, olive oil and famer’s butter! Where is this going? Honey, chalk, smoke. Becomes quite waxy and shows a nice, warm smokiness. Herbal teas and salt appear. Remains maritime and pretty sharp. Chiseled is the word. Delicious.
The floral notes (wild heathery flowers) come back in the picture during the long, smoky and somewhat spicy finish. Grand.
Atypical, but lovely Highland Park. Admittedly, almost 200 EUR for a 20 years old HP is far from cheap. But this is a future classic, believe me.