The Secret Speyside
Glenkeir Treasures from The Whisky Shop
Longtime readers will be familiar with many of the reviews that came out of our 2016 trip to the UK. We’ve reviewed quite a few whiskies that we either purchased on that trip, or first tasted then.
During the second half of our trip, we were wandering around Bath, England and happened upon The Whisky Shop. Naturally, we had to take a look inside. Established nearly 30 years ago, The Whisky Shop has numerous shops throughout the UK, a boutique in Paris, and also sells through its website (but unfortunately only to some US states). Boasting a catalog of over 400 whiskies, The Whisky Shop offers various single cask bottles, independent bottlings, exclusive releases, international whiskey, and rare and limited offerings.
While many bottles tempted us, we did not intend to purchase anything since we had already had to buy a new suitcase to bring home the whisky we bought in Scotland the week before. Despite our good intentions, one small 20cl bottle caught our eyes. It was a flask-like bottle of Glenkeir Treasures, labeled The Secret Speyside. Similar to other independent bottlers like Cadenhead’s, Glenkeir Treasures take single malts directly from various distilleries to either bottle directly, or finish and bottle it later (typically at 40% strength). On top of the mystery distillery, this whisky had been bottled on Cali’s birthday earlier that month. Given that connection, we knew we had to bring it home with us.
The Secret Speyside
We don’t have much information to go off of with this bottle. Other than its name, we know that it was distilled in April 2002 and bottled in June 2016, resulting in a 14 year Speyside. The whisky is much more copper color than the typical pale-gold Speysides that we are used to, so we suspect it was finished in some type of a European oak barrel, such an Oloroso sherry cask.
Eyes: The color of the dram resembles a light tea or apple juice. In the glass the whisky has a light texture.
Nose: The nose is a mixture of fruit and bread dough aromas. Fresh nectarines, figs, citrus, and caramel blend to create a light and sweet first impression.
Taste: The flavor of the Secret Speyside features a lot more oak tannin than the nose would suggest. That being said, oak is not dominant and some classic Speyside flavors, such as green apple, honey and vanilla, are all prominent. The flavor combines the taste of an apple strudel
Finish: As the dram fades hints of grapefruit and sugar linger, leaving a pleasant and not too powerful sweetness.
The Secret Speyside preserves a lot of mystery. While we could not definitively pin down the cask type, our instinct about the European oak seems to be confirmed with what we tasted. The flavor has a lot of fruit character and a rich texture with a backdrop of oak tannin. While doing some research we came across a review that hinted the distillery might be Glenfarclas, and that would make sense to us. An overall pleasant dram, our only wish would be that Glenkeir would’ve bottled the whisky at cask strength.