Tag Archive: Wemyss

Wemyss Spice King 12 Year
Wemyss: Spice King 12 Year (Scottish Blended Malt: 12 Year: 40% ABV)

Visual: Deep gold.

Viscosity: Medium speed and thickness streaks.

Nose: Honey and menthol. Greenery. Vegetable samosas. Danish pastry. Water adds heather notes.

Body: Very smooth. Honey. Alcohol touched body. Oak. Turmeric. Water makes much bigger honey and less alcohol. Vegetable samosas. Curry paste. Cinnamon.

Finish: Paprika and honey. Dry oak. Alcohol drying feel. Water adds green peppers.

Conclusion: Honey and lightly spiced vegetable samosas is what is coming to mind here. Not something I expected going in, but I am getting used to being surprised these days.

Initial impressions was that this is a very bright, simple, alcohol warmed whisky with heavy emphasis on the honey. It was slightly oaked, slightly light but generally enjoyable, if not earning its “Spice King” name.

Water initially pushed up the sweetness and dimmed the alcohol, but quickly the eponymous spice came out. Here is where we find that samosas character I mentioned earlier. Kind of a mix of vegetables, especially peas, mixed with a mild curry paste character. It is a gentle, vegetable spice, that is not harsh but becomes more and more to the fore as the amount of water increases. The thickness of the spice seems to fill the slightly thin cracks that existed in the whisky before, making it overall much more balanced.

It is full of that gentle spice, now only slightly sweet and actually quite rustic feeling – relaxing to drink despite the spice. For me it does what it says on the tin – spice, delivered smooth and gentle, but it does feel a tad one dimensional. I can’t complain that it doesn’t do what it sets out to do, but I feel it could do with a bit more depth and variety for it to appeal to me.

Ok, but more inoffensive than exciting.

Background: Keeping up the run of whisky miniatures with this blended malt from Wemyss. Grabbed from Independent Spirit who get mentioned a lot around here. Not much to say, Wymyss have done pretty good in their independent bottling so far. I think there is also an eight year version of this whisky going around but haven’t tried it.

Wemyss Kiln Embers

Wemyss: Kiln Embers (Scottish Blended Malt Whisky: No age statement: 46% ABV)

Visual: Gold.

Viscosity: Very varied mix of slow thin streaks, and faster thick streaks.

Nose: Smoke. Cinder toffee. Dry lemon. Salt. Wooden ship rafters. Light plum. Water emphasises the subtle lemon notes.

Body: Smooth. Salted lemon. Salt. Smoke and ash. Drying. Plums. Malt chocolate. Water brings out lemon and adds palma violets. Beef broth and charred oak come out. Even more water adds light orange notes.

Finish: Dry. Smoke. Cinder toffee returns. Cinnamon. Beef broth. Malt chocolate. Plum notes. Ash. Salted lemon. Water brings out dried beef, light orange and light glacier cherries.

Conclusion: Thing things you can do with blended malts these days, some of ’em even legal… Anyway, for one you can call your whisky “Kiln Embers” and still expect people to buy it. Normally for anyone outside a hardcore Islay fan that would not be an enticing name. Now, with a name like that I was expecting something dry, something smoke filled and definitely something punishing. I’m about half right.

There is smoke, ash and salt – Islay style, the whisky is both dry and drying, but, it is comparatively mellow. The blending has brought out subtle notes that mellows and smoothes, matching the smoke with cinder toffee sweet notes, or soothing them with a mild lemon that cuts through the harshness.

That lemon starts out light, but water really brings the character out, making it the main base the smoke lifts up from. More waters lets previously hidden additional sweetness comes out, those dark plum notes accentuating the cinder toffee. It never hides the Islay smoke that brought you here, but it does make for a real blended smooth and satisfying character. Despite the smoothness and lack of jagged edges it still boasts just enough harsh Islay character to keep just enough of the uniqueness that single malts have and overlays it to the blended styling.

Islay made to match a sippable smooth whisky. An utter steal at the price.

Background: I will confess I noticed a reference to salt dried lemons on the box as I poured, so there is a chance of psychosomatic influence on the tasting notes. Sorry, I try my best to avoid those until after I have done my notes. The kind people at Independent Spirit poured me a sample of this while I was in the shop, and I decided to grab a bottle – so I knew I was going to be well inclined to this even before I started the notes. Drunk after blowing what looked to be a promising “The Lost” run on Binding Of Isaac. I needed to get my spirits back up. Damn that run is hard. Also I put on a bit of Iron Maiden. Also to get my spirits back up. Because Iron Maiden are awesome.

Wemyss Glentauchers Liquorice Spiral 1992

Wemyss: Glentauchers: Liquorice Spiral: 1992 (Scottish Speyside Single Malt Whisky: 21 Years: 46% ABV)

Visual: Pale, slightly murky.

Viscosity: Medium thick streaks.

Nose: Not well defined. Spiced apple. Cinnamon sticks. Water adds alcohol air, light sulphur and sugar dusting.

Body: Caramel. Fire. Turmeric. Vanilla fudge. Nutmeg. Much bigger with water. Creamy and honey styled. Apples. Light sweet raspberry and strawberries.

Finish: Apples and tannins and oak. Almonds. Fudge. Ginseng. Water changes to cream and light chocolate. Coconut and stir fry notes.

Conclusion: You know, an old whisky like this should not need, nor benefit so much from adding water. Because it really does. The whisky doesn’t show much up front at all – the nose is closed, giving up very little. The problem seems to be that the notes are not well defined, for me at least – so I was nervous going in to try it.

Sipping without water was better, but not so much so to excite me. It was a bit sweet and slightly spiced – however add a bit of water, and give a bit of time, and you find the whisky as it should be.

Now it is smooth and creamy, like a honey yogurt, an introduction of which makes for a lovely first few moments. This then seeps out into red fruit, then finally, as you have swallowed and the experience fades you get a twist of tannins and ginseng. Thankfully lightly done in those last elements, as done too heavily it would be abrupt – as is it adds just the slightest almost stir fry note and grounded character. I know that element is usually considered a bad thing to have in whisky, but here it gives a kind of umami final feel which is unusual and welcome.

Neat this doesn’t live up to expectations, but with water it is remarkably complex – mixing sweetness, grounding notes, and such a range of flavour. This is a genuinely intriguing whisky, and one with lots to examine, and well worth the time it takes.

Background: Burn on! or, this was the third whisky of the pre Burn’s night tasting at Independent Spirit. I had only just tried Glentauchers for the first time a few weeks ago, and now this nicely aged example fell into my lap. There were only 339 bottles of this produced, so I considered myself lucky to get to try it – as before this was a tutored group tasting so my notes ,may have been influenced despite my best efforts.

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