February and March saw two sets of single cask releases from Wemyss Malts, a bumper crop which includes two bottlings at cask strength.
[expand title=”Click here to see information about the bottings”]
“Kirsch Gateau” 1988 single cask from Bunnahabhain Distilery, Islay, Cask Strength
“Cacao Geyser” 1998 single cask from Bowmore Distillery, Islay
“Snuffed Candle” 1999 singe cask from Aberfeldy Distillery, Highlands
“Dark Treacle Fondant” 2002 single cask from Craigellachie Distillery, Speyside
“Honeysuckle Bower” 1995 single cask from Linkwood Distillery, Speyside
“Caribbean Crème” 1988 single cask from Invergordon Distillery, grain
“The Rockpool” 1995 single cask from Bowmore Distilery, Islay, Cask Strength
“Foraged Fruit Fool” 1991 single cask from Blair Athol Distillery, Highlands
“Toffee Tuile” 1999 singe cask from Aberfeldy Distillery, Highlands
“Kumquat Cluster” 1993 single cask from Glenrothes Distillery, Speyside
“Stem Ginger Preserve” 1995 single cask from Mortlach Distillery, Speyside
“Rhubarb Royale” 2001 single cask from Benrinnes Distillery, Speyside[/expand]
I’ve been lucky enough to able to review six of the recent releases, so without further ado, let’s take a look at my thoughts…
Aberfeldy – Wemyss Malts 1999/2014 – 46% abv
Info: “Snuffed Candle”. 379 bottles.
Colour: Light gold.
Nose: Rich and malty, honey, wine gums, hints of char.
Palate: Fairly thick and creamy on the palate, reasonably spiced. Malty and fruity, cask char more evident.
Finish: Rich, spiced and long, warming on your chest. Grassy malt lasting out at the end.
Water: A drop of water lowers the spice a little and brings out more oak notes.
Thoughts: A pleasant, grassy and malty highland dram.
Available: Master of Malt – £88.93
Linkwood – Wemyss Malts 1995/2014 – 46% abv
Info: “Honeysuckle Bower”. 332 bottles.
Colour: Light straw.
Nose: Light, spirity, packed with minerals and malt. Gently sweet, gooseberries.
Palate: Fairly gentle, quite dry. Some sweetness, gooseberries and a dollop of custard leading into a fruit salad.
Finish: Subtle and medium in length, gently warming.
Water: Not much needed, it’s a fairly old dram so don’t drown it. Some polished oak notes come out on the nose, and it improves the sweetness on the palate; it’s a little less dry.
Thoughts: A very small drop of water does help the dram come out. Relaxed & enjoyable.
Available: The Whisky Exchange – £85.45
Bunnahabhain – Wemyss Malts 1988/2014 – 56% abv
Info: “Kirsch Gâteau”. Wemyss’ first cask strength offering. 442 bottles.
Colour: Rich, deep rusty gold.
Nose: Lots of polished old oak. It’s strong with the slightly high abv. Packed full of deep forest fruits, seville marmalade and squirty cream. Layers of flavours to explore and nose for a long time.
Palate: Lovely, rich and oily thick on the palate; it’s amazingly smooth for the strength. It’s more creamy than I imagined, soon followed by layers of stewed winter fruits, gentle oak and a pinch of spices.
Finish: Long, rich and warming; a fruity hug on your chest with just a hint of smoke.
Water: The nose is still very full and enjoyable. The palate is a touch thinner, but slightly more open – probably worth it, and it makes your dram & money go a little further.
Thoughts: A fabulous old dram from one of my favourite distilleries. It’s an instant winner, so much so that a full bottle was purchased as soon as possible and split between friends.
Available: Sold Out… Good luck, you may get lucky.
Glenrothes – Wemyss Malts 1993/2014 – 46% abv
Info: “Kumquat Cluster”. 730 bottles.
Colour: Very light gold, summer straw.
Nose: Many more aromas than expected, packed with malt, nuts, summer fruits & citrus.
Palate: Medium thick oils, and a liberal pinch of spice that slowly dissipates leaving old malt, slight leather, a touch of coconut, ripe fruits and a little old oak.
Finish: Warming, and long with some tannins.
Water: Water really helps take the spices down a notch, but be careful not to drown it.
Thoughts: Glenrothes has quite the house style, and this is a departure from that style – as is often the case with single casks. It’s interesting to see what else Glenrothes has to offer. This bottling is a malt that slightly challenges you.
Available: Master of Malt – £91.10
Mortlach – Wemyss Malts 1995/2014 – 46% abv
Info: “Stem Ginger Preserve”. 303 bottles.
Colour: Light summer gold.
Nose: Light, maybe slightly closed; it’s restrained and gentle. An acetate note. Old & damp.
Palate: Smoother and sweeter than expected, a fresh note, slightly gingery as picked out by the drams name, but also some old malt notes.
Finish: Long, spiced, a coconut note lasting out, and a slight toffee thing.
Water: There was the smallest pinch of spice, water has removed it bringing out even more old dusty malt tones.
Thoughts: Very interesting Mortlach, a dram that was well known amongst geeks, but now better known for being overpriced. This makes a nice alternative!
Available: Master of Malt – £82.45
Bowmore – Wemyss Malts 1995/2014 – 57.2% abv
Info: “The Rockpool”. 226 bottles.
Colour: Golden with orange tints.
Nose: The gentle peat of Bowmore comes out, along side some chewy fruity sweets – Rowntree’s Fruit Gums – and a little bit of tar. Needs some time to open up.
Palate: Full and thick, peaty, earthy tones, but quite sweet with heat building quite fast due to the high abv. A little floral.
Finish: Long & warming, floral sweetness continuing going into a salty peaty smoke puff.
Water: A drop of water takes down the slightly floral tones bring out more seaweedy notes. On the palate it makes it sweeter, more open, and more accessible, bringing out the odd BBQ tone. On the finish it brings out a slightly fizzy side, which is still sweet and long.
Thoughts: A touch of water works nicely to bring the dram to life. A good example of a single cask Bowmore. One to look out for, yum!
Available: Sold Out… Good luck, you may get lucky.
Thanks to Wemyss for the samples!