Tuesday, June 17, 2014

New release - Lord Elcho

The Lord Elcho is a new 'no age statement' release by independent spirits company Wemyss Malts. It joins the award winning 15 years old expression, which was released a couple of years ago and represented the company’s first foray into the world of premium blended whisky.  Both are blended whiskies that have been created using some of the company's finest single malt and single grain whiskies, and are designed to compliment the Wemyss range of single cask malt whiskies.

The whisky is named after Lord Elcho, the eldest son of the 5th Earl of Wemyss, who was a supporter of Bonnie Prince Charlie in the 1700s. He went into the Battle of Culloden at the legendary Prince’s side and following their catastrophic defeat he was stripped of title and land, before being exiled to France.  He was never to return to his family home or to Scotland.

Wemyss Malts is a Scottish based spirits company.  In addition to their hand crafted whiskies, they also own Darnley's View gin and two wine brands - Fonty's Pool from Western Australia and Rimauresq from Provence, France. The Wemyss family (pronounced weems) is based at Wemyss Castle, which overlooks the Firth of Forth estuary in Fife. The castle has been the family home since 1421 when it was constructed by Sir John Wemyss. The family have traditional ties to the whisky industry and these remain, as barley grown on their estate is still used by leading distillery companies.

The new version of Lord Elcho is bottled at 40% ABV and is available now selected specialist retailers in France, Holland, Hong Kong, Sweden, Switzerland, the UAE and the UK.  The recommended price is £25 a bottle.  It can also be ordered through www.wemyssmalts.com.  For further information, please visit www.lordelcho.com.

Our tasting notes
The colour is pale gold and the nose is instantly fresh and vibrant.  There are initial tangy and sweet aromas of crisp green apple and sultanas.  Underneath is a distinct malty cereal note that grows with time in the glass.  This is backed up by further aromas of dried grass, earthy ginger and some crumbly brown sugar.

On the palate this has a pleasant mouth coating quality that initially feels tangy, sugary and a little hot.  The tangy element has notes of the fresh green apple from the nose, plus some candied orange peel.  The sugary sweetness is driven by a combination of two notes from the nose - the juicy sultanas and the crumbly brown sugar.  The heat has a peppery edge to it and suggests some youthful whisky being used in the blend.  Underneath are notes of robust (and increasingly malty) cereals and these are backed up by a ginger element - this is reminiscent of crystallised ginger or maybe ginger cake - along with hints of cinnamon and dried pear.

The finish again mixes tangy fruitiness and sugary sweetness with the malty cereal notes.  These fades quite quickly leaving drier wood spices (especially cinnamon) and something slightly bitter and nutty remaining.

What's the verdict?
The Lord Elcho is a lovely whisky and another good effort from Wemyss.  It is basic but full of vibrant flavours that offer plenty to maintain the interest of the consumer.  In comparison to its 15 years old sibling it struggles, but they are clearly coming from a similar starting point.  To read our review of the Lord Elcho 15 years old from a couple of years ago - click here.

This new expression is clearly much younger and lacks the depth of the older version.  However this is to be expected and it is a lovely blend, especially against some of its competitors at that £25 price point.

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