Wemyss Malts – sampling some single casks

Weymyss single casks

“Who?!” I hear you cry. Just one of the hottest independent bottlers in town, that’s who. Wemyss Malts are so named after the Wemyss family whose historic residence is the imposing Wemyss Castle in Fife. The range of single casks and vatted… ahem I mean *blended* malts is overseen by none other than the legendary Charles Maclean. Not a bad choice as the chairman of your nosing panel if you ask me. I have four tasty drams lined up in front of me; time to tuck in!

A single cask session with Wemyss Malts

Lemon Grove
Cragganmore Distillery 1989/2011
371 bottles
46% ABV
£68.99 here

Nose: Very light and sweet. Childhood treats spring to mind, such as newly baked shortbread, lemon drizzle cake, sherbet dabs and green apples. There is a slightly herby floral side to it, much like fresh morning dew in a meadow.

Palate: Lemon zest (unsurprisingly) and fizzy bon bons. Creamy vanilla balances things out nicely and there’s even a gentle sweet woodiness and a touch of spice at the end to keep it interesting.

Finish: A lingering sweetness, new wood, soft vanilla and lemon cheesecake.

Vanilla Zest
Linkwood Distillery 2000/2011
792 bottles
46% ABV
£47.50 here

Nose: Citrusy sweet, really fills the nostrils with tangy zest. Underneath there’s a lot more to it – toffee, dark fudge and a touch of walnuts compliment the slightest hint of gentle spice perfectly.

Palate: Quite woody, spicy and nutty. Big flavours. The sweetness does eventually come through but in more of a rum and raisin truffle way than a sweet vanilla way. Heavier than I first predicted, but it a good way.

Finish: Covers the palate in a brief burst of toffee sweetness and then dies all too soon.

Caribbean Fruits
Glencadam Distillery 1990/2011
320 bottles
46% ABV
£71.99 here

Nose: Here we go! Richly sweet but extremely well balanced. Tropical fruits, peaches, dark honey caramel and cocoa powder all come together in wonderful harmony. I could nose this all day but I suppose I’d better taste it…

Palate: Exotically fruity, like a whisky moonlighting as a cocktail. Demerara sugar, gingerbread, plums and sticky toffee pudding are all evident. Brilliant.

Finish: Long and juicy. Sweet and rich. Mouthwateringly moreish. Time for a second dram of this one!

Honey Spice
Bunnahabhain Distillery 1991/2011
743 bottles
46% ABV
£68.99 here

Nose: There is a massively strong sherry influence here. Bunnahabhain is a fairly robust spirit but I’m struggling to get that even though my nose is buried as far as it’ll go into my glass. Raisins, rich honey and a leathery note are all that I can get. A little one-dimensional for me.

Palate: Initially laden with stewed fruits and then a salty, coastal note surges forward. The smoke build up and is a vast improvement to what I thought I’d be tasting after nosing it.

Finish: Long and gently smoky with liquor soaked fruits.

Overall: Phew, what a tasting session! Four very different whiskies each catering to a different style and palate. The standout dram for me is the ‘Caribbean Fruits’ for its depth, complexity and sheer deliciousness. ‘Lemon Grove’ and ‘Vanilla Zest’ are also great wee drams but a bit too light for my old and weary palate. Unfortunately the ‘Honey Spice’ doesn’t quite cut it for me but there you go. If you’ve tasted any of these single casks let us know what you think – my next Wemyss Malts session will involve a king, a hive and a chimney. Intrigued? So am I.


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