Over the last couple of years, the mastermind behind the minute Cley Distillery in Rotterdam, Paul den Dulk, has amassed a nice selection of casks – several of which were previously used by highly renowned production sites across the world. From one such vessel comes Cley’s latest offering: “Secret Islay Batch No.1”. As the name suggests, the exact origin of the cask, in which this limited edition was finished for over 1.5 years, remains a mystery. However, if you examine the labels on the front and back carefully, you might get an idea of who the barrel’s previous owner might have been. But that is all I’m going to say on that subject. What else I will say, however, is this: Cley’s clean, sweet, and fruity spirit harmonizes wonderfully with the wooden staves that still hold a good dose of Islay peat. While I did not sense the cask’s influence too much right after I opened the bottle, the whisky got noticeably smokier the more it breathed. Now, when I drink it, I smell and taste an elaborate interplay of Cley’s sophisticately crafted house style and the secret Islay cask’s ashy and puffy punch … and that is, no doubt, one helluva mix!
Eye: Apple juice.
Nose: Lots of fruit, grain, zest, and puff. In detail, I smell stewed apple, dried apricot, grated lemon peel, aromatic vanilla pod, crisp barley sugar, wet tobacco leaf, cooled-off ashtray, and crushed pepper … all entangled in one dense n’ complex ball of scent.
Palate: Sweet and milky at first, then turning gradually more zesty, peppery, and smoky. Many of the notes I got in the nose, I now also sense on the tongue: the apples, the lemons, the pepper corns, and the cigarette buds. The vanilla is there, too, albeit in a sweeter, brighter, and creamier form. And – of course – there are a number of new sensations as well, most noticably caramel pudding, cappuchino foam, banana-flavored ice cream, and sparked flintstone.
Finish: Pleasing and delicate with an invigorating spritziness! The smoke from the Islay cask unfolds and expands at this stage. It lays its darkened veil over a colorful mix of canned peach, pureed apple, green banana, creamy toffee, fine cocoa powder, and raisin-spikes chocolate bar. The finish starts off especially big and bold. And it lasts for a good while.
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Region: The Netherlands
Age: 4 years
Alc. volume: 55 per cent
Cask type: Islay cask finish
# of bottles: ?
Bottle size: 0.5 litres
Price: ~80.00 Euro
More info: https://www.cleydistillery.com/ (Distillery)
*** I got the bottle for free from Cley Distillery. Also, I run their
German social media profiles as an unpaid friendly service. ***