Wemyss Malts are a family owned independent bottlers, who have taken a unique approach to there releases. Naming the expressions after the profile of the drink instead of a distillery name, letting the consumers know before hand what style of whisky they are getting.
Started back in 2005 with the first releases, Wemyss Malts has gone to expand its range to include single cask releases, premium blend Lord Elcho along side the existing range. They also have a couple of sister companies that include the Kingsbarn Distillery and Darnleys Gin.
This was to be my first experience for Wemyss Malts, a tweet tasting hosted by Steve from The Whisky Wire, we were to try the a couple of new expressions that Wemyss were releasing from my a new range along with a classic. The new range is called the Family Collection, a series of blended malts Scotch malts from the family’s own selection of maturing stocks. Having spent the last decade sourcing newly distilled spirit from around Scotland, to mature in casks carefully selected for the influence they will have on the aging spirit.
The first sample tried was from the new collection, it is called Vanilla Burst. Bottled at 46% abv non chill filtered and natural colour, only 4800 bottles are available drawn from 15 first fill ex-bourbon casks used to mature unpeated spirit from two Speyside distilleries.
Nose: Citrus note, vanilla toffee, some nice subtle nutty notes, all the way through is a light spicy ginger note.
Palate: Apple, ginger, charred Oak, some hints of lemon, gentle note of pine nuts in the background, with a little time to open the vanilla from the nose comes through..
Finish: Medium with the citrus being present..
The second sample was also from the new Family Collection, it is called Treacle Chest. Again bottled at 46% this time using unpeated spirit from two Highland distilleries, matured in 14 first fill Oloroso sherry hogsheads only 6300 bottles are available.
Nose: young spirit, wood polish, dried fruits, sultanas, orange peel, touch of liquorice root, the sherry influence giving a nice depth to it..
Palate: Demerara sugar, honey roasted nuts, dried fruit from the nose, oak spice, some hints of clove..
Finish: Quite long with beautiful richness to the fruit and sweetness lasting to the end..
Next we got to sample the classic Spice King, one of the original blended malt releases from Wemyss. This is also bottled at 46% and is natural colour and non chill filtered. It uses a mixture of core malts from the Highlands, Speyside and the Lowlands, with a supporting malt from Islay.
Nose: Soft touch of brine and smoke, dark coco, fresh ground mocha Italia, soft tangerines..
Palate: soft briney smoke, sweet vanilla, charred oak, juicy oranges, hint of ginger, such depth to it..
Finish: Long with a sweet drying hint of smoke..
We finished with a Tailor-made Old Fashioned using the Spice King expression. It’s been a long time since I had an old fashioned, this took me back to memories of having one with my dad while we were in Fort William.
For my first experience of Wemyss Malts I’m very impressed, all of the samples I tired were outstanding. For me the standout from the Family Collection was the Treacle Chest, which is unusual for me. I do tend to prefer bourbon maturation over sherry, this time the sherry won out. The depth and complexity it gave to the expressions was sublime. Now on the night my favourite was the Spice King expression, with the Treacle Chest a very close second. After reviewing them all again I’m still torn and would probably go with a tie for first, which shows how good the Treacle Chest is. Having a sherry matured whisky that is at least equal to one with peat, unheard of for me.
I would like to say a big thank you to Wemyss and Steve for what was a wonderful night. They have introduced me to some new expressions that have surprised me and made me think about how I appreciate whisky again.