The nose reveals the Highland Park, even if the smoke is very subdued. A smoky note is there, isn't it? There is also spice, fermented fruit, warm honey and fresh alcohol. It's all strong and bitter. With a little water, the whisky becomes sweeter on the nose and there are also fruit aromas, tart orange peel.
The alcohol pushes hard and the whisky needs water. Then the flavors become nutty, tart nut chocolate with whole nuts. The Highland Park smoke is also more in the background in the taste, there is sherry spice, which is well interwoven and does not appear artificial. Fruit is associated with the chocolate, the nuts are joined by a few currants and orange zest.
The finish is slightly dry with tart herbs and wood and bitter chocolate that melts in the mouth.
This Secret Orkney is very different from the inflationary single casks from Highland Park, which are usually very dark and then taste like sherry. There were no dried sherry residues in this sherry hogshead, which leads to well-woven aromas and an interesting overall impression. This isn't Highland Park flattering or syrupy sweet. This is a Highland Park that goes well with the islands to the north, with the dark clouds over Hobbister Moor. Not quite typical Highland Park - but in the end better than many single cask distillery bottlings. I like it.