But some, however, get it terribly wrong and leave us laughing in the aisles. Now granted this is normally through poor translation or a misunderstanding or cultural difference as we see in the example below. Worrying still, is perhaps this brand of crisp is actually being very honest about what is inside!
TV adverts do a similar thing, and despite having perhaps a shorter window of opportunity, there is a fine line between popping a product in our busy minds for later, or loosing it along with the remote control down the back of the sofa. I like Iggy Pop, he has always been viewed as a bit of a wild rocker and sticking it to the man (any man I think) but when Iggy and his crinkly spitting image doll made an appearance in a recent TV advert, it was kind of lost. For a start, those most worried about getting cheap car insurance are no doubt first time drivers or those under 25 years old. They probably don’t even know who Iggy Pop (or Spitting Image) is. So, pointless advert really. Now, what is it they are selling again, oh yes, car insurance…but which company? That fat opera singer gets it spot one because all he does is repeat the company name.
It’s all about trying to cut through the noise of all the advertising around us and get your brand to stand out the most, be remembered or deliver on expectation. Then there are the brands which keep it simple and state what it does or contains. Ronseal, for years have not only stated plainly what it is the product is inside, but also what it does. So much so that the TV adverts which followed used this as a main marketing message and it even became a turn of phrase in the urban dialect “does exactly what it says on the tin”. A catchy slogan, a real bit of advertising and a message delivered. simples!
Wemyss Malt Whisky has always had a wee bit of a problem. A family name, a castle, hundred of years of provenance behind it yet a name even most Scots struggle with (It’s “Wee-mz” by the way). So those clever chaps at Wemyss thought of another way of delivering the malt message call it as they see it.
Wemyss is an old Scots word for “caves” and along the east coast of Scotland, in particular the kingdom of Fife, there are caves a plenty. Mostly created by the torrents of the north sea crashing against the softer sandstone of the area over countless millennia. Atop a section of cliff on this coastline stand Wemyss castle,
on land that the residing family have had for generations. The link to whisky isn’t just their own love of it, but in fact barley that grows on the Wemyss estate is still used today by distillers across Scotland and furthermore, John Haig (of Haig’s whisky) built his first distillery on the very land the family owned.
Wemyss blended malts first caught my attention a few years back whilst browsing the shelves of a wine shop in Oundle called Amps. Amps always had such a fabulous range of wines and spirits and the rounded dumpy bottles of Wemyss with pastel shade labels and curious names certainly made me stop. This was the clever bit from the company. A different looking bottle that certainly stood out and simple, all-educating names across the front. Forget the fact that you couldn’t pronounce who made it, the fact that the range boasted expressions such as “Peat Chimney“, “Smooth Gentleman” , “Toffee Apple” and ”The Hive” will leave you in no doubt about its contents. Although, i must admit, i still have a problem with the Smooth Gentleman, having never tasted one myself, I am unsure just how he would compare to the whisky. But it is the single cask releases that I am most in love with.
Third party bottling’s are of course nothing new, and as Wemyss are not actually distillers themselves, they are such a group. Selecting casks from distilleries and, in some cases, re-casking them to create a different character, Wemyss have a damn fine range to offer. Three of the most recent releases came to me a few weeks ago, but I am ashamed to say I just hadn’t had the time to review them until now.
The first is a 1996 offering named “Smokehouse”. It is 1 of only 363 bottles and was removed from the cask to be popped into a bottle in 2011, oh, and like so many Wemyss whiskies, 46% abv. On closer inspection, we are told that the original whisky came from Caol Ila and from the number of bottles from this single cask, one would expect the nose to soften and be less forceful that a standard Caol Ila expression. we shall see!
Appearance: Strangely “green” like pale olive oil and gold
Nose: Beautiful aromas of ripe pineapple, pine cone and sliced parma ham and salt encrusted driftwood next to a beach bonfire. Smoke and iodine is in there, of course, but in such an integrated it comes over as a “cured” note rather than the expected “live” smoke.
Palate: Spicy smoke gives way to liquorice root and light creamy medicinal notes. Balanced chewy cereal and salty butter and hay.
Finish: Lingering drifts of salty seaside air, light cured meat and herbal notes of hay finish the experience.
It’s not badly priced either for a single cask at £67.95 and can be bought here.
Next was the 1989 “rum & raisin” from the Tullibardine distillery, again casked at 46% and non-chill filtered. There were only 299 bottles of this beauty, capped off in 2011.
Notes: Tullibardine was very often used young as the main part to blends, but the single malt releases really show off the deeper floral notes.
Appearance: Pale straw with flecks of white gold.
Nose: A burst of fresh flowers tied with a straw bow. Lovely light iris notes, then richer hints of creamy vanilla and shaves of light oak with hints of cocoa sprinkled with light brown sugar. Fruity yes, but maybe a bit lighter than expected.
Palate: Spicy golden syrup and cedar wood lifted with rich dried fruits. Floods of malt overtones with orange dust and pollen. Big chunks of creamy vanilla pull it all together creating a glorious mixture of rich, sweet fruit.
Finish: A deep mix of sweet wood with floral temperance.
It’s very good value, but the limited stock my see it gone before you get one. Try here.
Lastly, the 1982 “winter spice” from the Teaninich (teen-in-ik) distillery. A dribble below the 46% at 44.4% and only 201 bottles. sure to be a sell out product as this 29 yr old has bags of character.
Appearance: golden corn
Nose: Delivering welcome notes of fresh cereal, sugar snap peas in a wicker basket which develops into richer tones with warm, vanilla laden oak. In all, like walking into a garden shed in the middle of summer.
Palate: Following on from the nose those earthy notes balanced with spice and green herby vegetal are all dancing around. Rich and creamy to begin with mid palate cut with 2 day old grass clippings (excuse the pun), oregano and drier orange peel towards the pepper sweet end.
Finish: Warm vanilla spiced up with a lingering cinnamon and clove spiked orange.