Wemyss Malts, the independent bottler and producer of Darnley’s View Gin, brings out a new set of single cask whiskies every few months.
According to the company, this line “was conceived with the aim of making [malt whisky] more accessible and understandable” – a fact which has always drawn me to the company as I’m a big fan of anyone who can do this well.
As such, each release features a title that quickly hints at what might be in the bottle, alongside the name of the distillery and the year the cask is from.
The latest batch – released originally at the end of July – includes a 1988 Invergordon single grain, a 1982 Bowmore, a 1991 Bunnahabhain, a 1988 Glenrothes, a 1994 Aberfeldy and a 1991 Glen Scotia. All are bottled at 46% ABV and range in price from £80 to £700.
I’ve had the chance to try three of the latest range – here’s what I thought of them.
‘Lemon Cheesecake’ – Invergorden 1988 – £81
(c): Golden coins
(n): At first, lemon posset, egg white and lemon meringue pie, then rich strawberry jam, cream tea (the comforting combo of jam, cream and warm baked scones). It is warm and concentrated. Another sniff reveals melted vanilla ice cream, pie crust and macaroons.
(p): A slightly richer mix on the palate with notes of cinnamon bark and vanilla bean. There’s a nice earthiness and some warming prickle. Then custard ice cream and a honey-floral note that reminded me of clovers.
(f): Furniture oakiness and later honey nut Cheerios.
Not a super long finish, but very comforting. Not too hot for single grain – relaxed, desserty, sweet but a good dryness, making it very well balanced.
‘At Anchor in a Cove’ – 1991 Glen Scotia – €79
(n): A gloriously bursting nose, with beeswax, peach cobbler, lemon skin and Werther’s Original. This flows into notes of nutmeg, salted shortbread and golden raisins, before for an odd burst of spearmint and spring onions (almost tingly and green). There’s also Bassett Liquorice Allsorts (the yellow ones) and buttermilk. It’s a very attractive nose, and I could sit with this for ages…loads of depth.
(p): At first, sherbet and Coca-Cola – it’s almost fizzy. Then an apple lolly dipped in caramel, before peanut butter/raw peanuts out of shell, lemon peel, soap, chillies and spearmint Polo Mints.
(f): Quite short but leaves my mouth very fresh, like I’ve been chewing gum.
I loved this release – probably one of my favourites in recent sets of releases from Wemyss. Sweet and savoury, and then that slightly odd but appealing cooling freshness. The nose is definitely more rewarding than the palate for me, and I could have sat without tasting it for a very long time.
‘Loch Indaal Catch’ – Bowmore 1982 – £740
(n): Lychee, soft yellow apple (not as crunchy), fruit salad juice and fermented apples: it’s very fruity, but in that beautiful, old aged whisky way. Rice Crispies lend a nice cereal note, then glacé Christmas orange/lemons, strawberries dipped in milk chocolate that gets denser almost like strawberry Quality Street and, finally, Jolly Jammers.
(p): The palate surprises at first after all that big, bold fruitiness on the nose. Leads with lavender creams, soap flakes and Sunlight dish soap. Underneath this more typical, 1980s Bowmore style is blackcurrant and liquorice candies, Fanta grape and a dark, rich brambly-fruitiness. Almost feels fizzy and soapy on the tongue.
(f): Pink Turkish delight/rosewater.
This is the most valuable cask ever released by Wemyss – a 31 year old single cask Bowmore isn’t one you’ll see very often, after all. It’s got an incredible nose that just kept going and going. But, the palate for me was a bit too floral. One to try out if you come across the bottle and interesting to see the company release such a pricy bottle.