Wemyss MaltsI’m no stranger to admitting that I’ll often find myself firstly attracted to a whisky because of its packaging or its name. Call me shallow, but I can’t help but believe that a lot of people would – if looking at a set of whiskies on a shelf – be more likely to pick up an attractive looking, interesting sounding bottle first before something that looks outdated or fusty.

While that is now, of course, not my only reason for choosing a whisky (that, my friends, occurs more for wine where bottles featuring chickens and rabbits, or with funny names will almost certainly be tried out of sheer curiosity) it is still an aspect that plays through my mind when I pick up a bottle I’ve not seen before.

But it can cause me to as quickly dismiss one too.

Which is why when I found myself checking out the new single cask releases from Wemyss and noted one bearing the name ‘Peat Smoked Herring’ I was initially very put off. The idea of a well oiled and toasted bit of fish in my whisky was not a pleasing one.

So, imagine my surprise when I tried the new release and found it to be my favourite out of the latest line-up. Quelle shock!

This slightly oddly named whisky is in fact a Bowmore from 2001 bottled at 46%.

Here was what I thought of it – once I got the image of the herring out of my head, of course.

Wemyss Malts: Peat Smoked Herring – Bowmore 2001 – 46% – £69:

(c): Lemon water

(n): Peaches, wallpaper paint, green melons, orange blossom, vanilla.

(p): Vanilla sugar and smoke – an intensity of light fruits and smoke; very appealing. BBQ fruit, cigars and oak, peaches and cream. It’s quite zingy; refreshing almost. A great mix of sweet and savoury.

(f): Malty cardboard.

In conclusion: I didn’t personally get peat smoked herring, which I was rather glad about. Instead, this was all about the mix of smoky and sweet, yellow/fleshy fruits for me. That Bowmore vanilla freshness comes through and enhanced peat. I wanted to drink this down an old fashioned boozer on a winter night: warming and comforting.

With thanks to Wemyss Malts for the sample.