Another lovely parcel of samples arrived this week at DW headquarters but it has taken me a few days to get round to opening them due to the fact that I have actually been off booze for 10 days! Yup, hard to believe isn’t it? Even harder when you consider I have hosted three tastings within that 10 day period. But I feel good for it and even starting to feel like a proper bike rider again when I get in the saddle. The dry patch has ended though as it is my birthday this weekend so it seems only right to begin it early with a whisky (or three).
So without further ado – I’m cracking on with theses three new single cask releases from Wemyss Malt.
First up is a 1998 single cask sample called “Lemon Sorbet”. I’ve always been a fan of Wemyss approach to just stating how it is. Refreshing, as I am sure this dram will be.
1998 Vintage 46% abv
314 bottles, Bottled 2012
Appearance: Very pale with light straw
Nose: Light citrus oil with a soft undertone of old paper, beeswax and butter. Lovely vanilla and floral notes of apple blossom. Edges of fresh balsa wood, grassy herbs and peanut shell keep the notes light yet complex.
Palate: Burst of zingy malt immediately followed by a curious roasted note akin to charred peanut. Warm crushed white pepper sprinkled over lemon meringue pie with a biscuit base. With water a more subtle vanilla and citrus element emerges and the balsa found on the nose becomes rich and buttery to the palate.
Finish: Lingering pepper, but in good harmony with the fruity elements. Still drifts of charred paper and a nutty tang.
1997 Vintage 46% abv
“Fresh Fruit Sorbet”
331 Bottles, Bottled 2012
Appearance: Light yellow gold with green straw
Nose: As the name suggests, an abundance of berry fruits jump out at you , cloaked in waxy vanilla as is typical of the distillery. Some polished cherry wood and chewed lollipop stick. It’s a complex nose that gives up Eton Mess or maybe Cranachan is more appropriate with an oily alcoholic element, but this latter part barely makes an appearance or spoil the party.
Palate: Warming and rich, the thickness is most apparent helping further amplify the waxy element found on the nose. Fruity it certainly is, but now we are heading into more orchard fruits than summer berry. Good spicy grip clings to the mouth as it introduces itself and the woody vanilla lends peasant structure to the lighter fruits.
Finish: Delicate once the spice subsides, with warm vanilla and conference pear dusted with cinnamon. I’m not even attempting to cut this back with water – it’s quite fine as it is.
1991 Vintage 46% abv
Campbeltown (Glen Scotia)
833 bottles, bottled 2012
Appearance: Rose gold with light copper
Nose: Dark chocolate with honey and rich orchard fruit notes, well matured and integrated as to become a heady combination of deep fruit and spice notes. Incredibly, there is a top note of fresh strawberry and plum for a moment but the overriding elements are of quality tanned hide infused with Spanish orange oil and even some spicy tobacco.
Palate: Deep spices of mace and clove are pronounced at the beginning but they do give way to an easier plum note and rosewood oil. There is a lot going on here, herbal, almost lavender like with dried wood, spice and citrus both in dried and fresh form. Pot-pouri in a glass, the sweetness of the european sherry butt used is very apparent with a tiny drift of sulphur to the edges. With a splash of water the leather elements take over and are most apparent on the nose where as on the palate we see a softening of the more mineral elements and a return to the soft fleshed summer fruits.
Finish: This is certainly an adventure with a lot going on and it takes a while to really open up with its complex array of rich yet fresh elements.
Three new releases and all showing great character. I would say that of the three the ’97 “Fresh Fruit Sorbet” was more my style and would be something I will be seeking out. The ’98 “Lemon Sorbet” is the perfect summers afternoon dram, an accompaniment to any picnic in the park whilst I think the ’91 “Strawberry Ganache” might need a dark corner and a good book late at night before it could be fully appreciated.
These samples will be available to purchase very soon at Master of Malt so make sure you get your chops round them and make your own mind up.