Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wemyss Malts Week - Part 2

Over the last few months we have received a series of packages containing whisky samples from Wemyss Malts. As a result of various circumstances, we have not been able to review and taste them ... until now.  We have decided to put all of these samples together and review them in one week - our very own Wemyss Malts Week.  This will be a four-part series which showcases some whiskies from the companies ever expanding range.

Welcome to the second part of the series.  Yesterday, we covered three of the whiskies in Wemyss' eight years old blended malt range, plus a run down of the company's history and ethos.  Click here to read any of this information from Part 1, to save us covering old ground on each of our posts this week. 

Today, we turn our attention to the Wemyss Malts range of 12 years old blended malts.  These follow the same idea as yesterday's eight years old range, as they are all named to reflect the flavour profile and give the consumer a clue as to its characteristics.  Each whisky in the range is made from a hand selected selection of single malts, which are married together for a period of time before bottling.  They are all bottled at a strength of 40% ABV and retail for £35 each.  For further information about Wemyss Malts, their ranges and to purchase, please visit www.wemyssmalts.com.

The Hive - 12 years old
The colour is a vibrant golden yellow and the majority of the single malts used here are from the Speyside region of Scotland.  The nose is packed with honey aromas (we guess the clue was in the name, right?), along with plenty of vanilla and malty cereal grains. There are other aromas of golden syrup, stewed apple and a pinch of baking spice. On the palate, this feels a little tangy with some unexpected orange zest up front.  It then settles down an plenty of sweet honey notes are present, along with vanilla, toasted nuts, burnt sugar, some wood/baking spice (especially nutmeg) and some malted barley which gives a pleasant bittersweet edge and stops it from being too sweet.  This maltiness seems to increase in to the finish and gives the whisky a good grip in the mouth.  The finish is short-ish but with another good dollop of honey towards the end, plus a hint of faint tobacco leaf.

The Spice King - 12 years old
The colour is golden amber and the signature malt here is from one of the islands of Scotland.  The nose is rich and full of harmonious aromas - honey, vanilla, candied citrus peel, sultana, stewed apple, baking spice (especially cinnamon), plus hints of custard and soft, gentle peat smoke.  On the palate, this feels soft and velvety before a hit of peat smoke and spice kicks in to add some vibrancy.  The dominant notes are sweet - think of honey, cereals and dried fruits in particular - with plenty of candied and spiced orange coming later.  There is a pudding-like apple crumble type note also.  The underlying spices and peat become softer and mellower with time.  The balance is very good with the spice/peat combination stopping it from being too sweet and sugary.  The finish is of decent length with a highly enjoyable combination of brown sugar, cinnamon, honey, soft peat and tangy orange peel.  The eight years old version was good but this raises the bar to a new level.

The Peat Chimney - 12 years old
The colour is golden yellow and this is a complex blend of 16 single malts, with the emphasis on the smoky Islay whiskies. The nose is packed full of punchy peat smoke aromas and these have a fresh, bracing quality.  The peat is sweet and fragrant.  The other aromas are also sweet with notes of honey, brown sugar, vanilla and malty cereals all present.  Underneath is a whiff of salty brine and something vegetal and a bit mossy.  On the palate, this is obviously sweet and a little sugary (think of icing sugar) but then ... boom, the spicy and peppery hot peat smoke kicks in.  The feeling creates a mouth watering freshness.  Once the heat and smoke settle, an underlying malted barley note is joined by other more delicate flavours - vanilla, honey, fresh green pear, lemon zest, oatcake biscuit and a pinch of cinnamon and ginger spice.  There is also some of the salty tang from the nose detected.  The finish is long with the strength of the peat smoke combining delightfully with the sweet honeyed notes.  Very good, especially for the price point of £35.

Join us tomorrow for Part 3, where we move on to sample and review some single cask offerings from the Wemyss Malts range.

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