Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Wemyss Malts Single Cask Releases July 2014

Whisky Reviews
Edinburgh based boutique Spirits Company Wemyss Malts announced the release of their latest parcel of single cask Scotch whiskies at the end of July. The range included a single grain single cask whisky for the first time as well as the most valuable whisky Wemyss has ever released, a 31 years old single cask from Bowmore distillery.

Each cask is a celebration of the unique and contrasting appeals of the different Scotch whisky regions and the latest release covers grain whisky and four of the regions: from Islay, Highlands, Speyside and Campbeltown.  Wemyss whiskies are each named after their natural taste and aroma and the full cask list of this release comprises:
  • "Lemon Cheesecake" -  1988 single cask from Invergordon, Single Grain
  • "Loch Indaal Catch" - 1982 single cask from Bowmore, Islay
  • "Oysters with Lemon Pearls" - 1991 single cask from Bunnahabhain, Islay
  • "Aromatic Orange Tobacco" - 1988 single cask from Glenrothes, Speyside
  • "Melon Vine" - 1994 single cask from Aberfeldy, Highlands
  • "At Anchor in a Cove" - 1991 single cask from Glen Scotia, Campbeltown

Each cask has been selected and named by the Wemyss tasting panel, under the watchful eye of industry aficionado Charlie Maclean.   There are only a few hundred bottles from each cask and the suggested retail prices range from £80 to £700.

Whisky Discovery were delighted to receive samples of three these releases and here is what Dave though of these new Whisky Discoveries:

Whisky Discovery #949

Wemyss Malts 1988 Invergordon 'Lemon Cheesecake' 46% abv
Single Cask Grain Whisky
circa £82.00 70cl
Whisky Discovery
This is the first single grain whisky that Wemyss have ever released, so it was a real honour to be sent a sample of this 25/26 year old to review. Distilled at the Invergordon Distillery and laid to rest in a barrel until bottling this year. Just 220 bottles at 46% abv have been released.

So What Did I Think?
The nose exudes lovely soft coconut ice notes; a freshly opened pack of McVities Digestive biscuits (other digestive biscuits are available); honey and a woody note that reminds me of sawn coconut wood. There is a faint Bourbonesque note too (made up word relating to American Whiskey and not the biscuits). This is indeed very fragrant and although I've never had a cheesecake under my nose long enough to nose it (read 'gannet') I did note cake mix and custard creams though.

Sweet and spicy is the overall profile of the palate. A creamy mouth coating Bourbon sweetness with some coconut notes open as the spices build with a touch of cardamom alongside cloves and some gentle chilli heat while the fragrant coconut wood notes comes through towards the end, before finishing with a spicy tingle that leaves cloves and cardamom while dessicated coconut lingers to the very end.

I really loved this! At the time of tasting I tweeted that Wemyss Malts should take a bow. Their first ever single grain release is superb, please send me more!

Whisky Discovery #951

Wemyss Malts 1988 Glenrothes 'Aromatic Orange Tobacco' 46% abv
Speyside Single Cask Malt
circa £120.00 70cl
Whisky Discovery
A 25/26 year old Sherry butt matured Glenrothes from 1988, and being a sherry butt the yield was a very healthy 730 bottles at 46% abv, enough for us all! (well 730 of us). So what were you doing in 1988? There's something about an age statement or a vintage that can take you straight back to that period in your life. Fortunately I can still remember although there are quite a few holes due to my mis-spent youth.

So What Did I Think?
My first impressions upon nosing this was Jamaican Ginger cake, lovely rich sticky cakey notes. Later orange oil notes develop followed by some tobacco! Wemyss most definitely have got the name of this release bang on the nail!

Initially this tastes soft and sweet before some tobacco notes develop. The sherry influence then shows its hand with Amontillado flavours before the spices lift the palate with a sherbet tingle, finishing with the sherry/tannin dryness which reminds me of grapefruit pith.

The following morning the empty glass yields rich dark chocolate notes, I really liked this Glenrothes.

Whisky Discovery #955

Wemyss Malts 1982  Bowmore 'Loch Indaal Catch' 46% abv
Islay Single Cask Malt
circa £740.00 70cl
Whisky Discovery
Definitely considered as the star attractuion of this release, and heralded as their most valuable release to date, this 31 Year Old Bowmore  was distilled back in the day when I was half way through my shipbuilding apprenticeship! I was working on Steel hulled, aluminium superstructure fast patrol craft for Egypt and Oman. My hair was down to my waist, I rode fast and loud motorbikes and was a roadie for a local rock band! A teenage rebel without a clue!

So What Did I Think?
Wow this was very fragrant! Floral with a candy sweetness, Parma Violets of course, and talcum powder. Later the maritime notes start to develop, remember its been sleeping for at least 31 years, with a salty sea breeze and some tarred driftwood.

The Parma Violets dominate the palate for me, again very floral and fragrant while drinking. A candy sweetness with a gentle sherbet fizz. For a 30 plus year old whisky it is surprisingly light and fresh on the palate. There is a sandy beach note under the perfume.

The perfumed fragrance remains right through to the very end, perhaps a little too perfumed for me. 'Nice perfume but must you marinate in it?' would be the name of this release if I was allowed to label it! I'm sure this will appeal to more than the 165 bottles available, both my wife and youngest daughter thought it smelt delightful!

The empty glass the following morning loses the heady perfume and gives earthy malty notes which I preferred.

I was very pleased with the three samples received and although the Bowmore is not to my taste (or my budget) I'm sure there are plenty who will love it as experienced at other tastings when this flavour profile come up! The single grain is outstanding in my opinion, I absolutely loved it and it certainly is within my budget. I loved the Glenrothes too, but a little to expensive for me, I still struggle with spending over £100 on a bottle of whisky, but that's down to my disposable income, and to maintain peace and harmony within the household! The other three releases sound equally interesting and would love to taste each of them!


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