Review: Lady of the Glen Secret Speyside 20 year old

Next up is the Secret Speyside release from independent bottler Lady of the Glen. I met Gregor the man behind the range recently and bought a couple of bottles from him including this mysterious Speyside release. The other bottle I’ve reviewed already was from Ben Nevis distillery and you can read about that right here.

Back to this enigma of a bottle and I’m not even going to speculate where it’s from nor did I trouble Gregor by asking. What it comes down to are the contents and whether the asking price justifies the experience. Independent bottlers seem to have an imaginary code of conduct when it comes to bottling and featuring the distillery name. Ideally it should never be larger than the company logo itself and in some cases the distillery prefers not to see its name on any bottling whatsoever. In these situations the bottler may openly hint at its origins, never going so far as to confirm it publically or other may include a local landmark on the label design thereby highlighting the source in a sly manner.
Then of course you have the teaspooning of whisky which is adding a touch of whisky from another distillery to the cask. This is done to protect the brand of source distillery, some of whom may not agree with independent bottlers and are very protective of their brand. By doing this the cask cannot be sold as a single malt. An example would be Westport that is a cask of Glenmorangie with a splash of Glen Moray to highlight but one. Whether distillers actually go to the physical lengths of adding another distillery whisky is open to speculation but on the paperwork you’re not able to label it as a single malt. On the flipside this Lady of the Glen release is of unknown but the teaspooning scenario would allow the origins to be disclosed.
When it comes to whisky I’m all for full disclosure generally and in this example we have all the necessary information apart from the distillery. An asking price of £71.00 for a 20 year old malt is reasonable in my book.
Distillery: to quote Toyah – it’s a mystery
Distilled: October 1994
Cask: refill bourbon hogshead
Cask number: 1171
Outturn: 262 bottles
Strength: 52.3% ABV
Additional: non-chill filtered
Colour: cornflakes
Nose: custard creams, a wicker basket and a forest of bamboo. Juicy fruit notes arrive with pineapple, white grapes and tangerines. Beyond I’m reminded of Tunnock’s Snowballs and there is a touch of balsamic vinegar on the fringes.
Taste: a lovely malty texture with crushed digestive biscuits and marshmellows. Again those juicy fruits deliver with added wine gums. Going right into the sweetshop references I’m also taken with almonds in the form of a Dime bar and Werther’s Originals.

I’m pleased with this 20 year old Speysider. Overall I’d categorise it as a real crowd pleaser and entertainer, with enough character to keep you pleasantly involved.

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