It's been just over two years since I took part in a Wemyss Malts Twitter tasting, so it was about time another one rolled around! Especially since Wemyss Malts have produced many cracking drams in that two year period, most recently their new Family Collection.
"The Family Collection is a new series of blended malt Scotch whiskies crafted from the Wemyss family’s own selection of maturing cask stocks. In the last decade, the Wemyss family have been sourcing newly distilled spirit from the foremost distilleries to mature in casks carefully selected for the extraordinary influence they impart on Scotch spirit"
This detail we learned during the tasting event, with our old chum Steve Rush feeding us valuable tidbits of info as he always does when hosting these Tweet tastings. I always enjoy receiving info and background history about the drams we're tasting. Whether it's specific detail around the casks used, the whiskies married in the blend, or facts about the distillery (or bottler) itself, it's interesting to learn these facts.
What the Family Collection aims to deliver in each release, is a particular flavour of whisky, representing a region, malted barley style or cask type. The first two whiskies we tried this evening are the first two available from the Family Collection. We were also treated to one of Wemyss' core malts, and as an added bonus, a pre-mixed Old Fashioned cocktail made from the same core malt. Here are my thoughts on each of them:
Vanilla Burst - NAS - 46%, £43.95
Produced using spirit from two Speyside distillery’s, then matured in a first fill ex-bourbon cask.
Banana foam sweets, vanilla custard, thick fudge some dry oaky notes too… generally sweet, creamy and (unsurprisingly) vanilla-y!Hints of candied lemon peel after time too.
Not as sweet and thick as expected, toasted coconut, subtle clove, unripe pear, a little ginger and some rich clotted cream toffee too.
Dries quite quickly to leave more of the woody vanilla notes. Pleasant enough, easily drinkable dram without being exceptional.
Treacle Chest - NAS - 46%, £46.95
Produced using spirit from two Highland distillery’s, which was matured in a first fill ex-sherry hogshead.
Rum soaked sultanas, soft brown sugar, stewed plums & the slightest hint of inner tube! After a while, melted butter & leather notes… very enticing!
Ooh that’s good. Really thick mouthfeel, sweet rich & spicy! Orange oil mingled with one of my favourite childhood sarnies! brown bread, butter, golden syrup & overripe banana :-)
Long, rich & warming… more spice & sweetness evident. Cinnamon & toffee, but does dry eventually. Really well balanced.
Spice King - NAS - 46%, £37.95
Over ten different single malt whiskies, a mixture of ages, from the Highlands, Lowlands & Speyside are expertly blended together to create the “base” malts for Wemyss Malts core range. Support” & “signature” malts are then carefully added to craft to create each distinct whisky style & profile.
For this dram, the signature malts used are from the Highlands & Islands.
Dry smoke, hints of kippers & brine, + bit of inner tube again? Is my nose off?! Not getting much spice at all, a slight hint of pepper. Quite buttery though eventually.
Some medicinal qualities, green chili, a little briney fish… very savory dram initially but sweetens a little with smokey maple syrup becoming evident.
It's got a smoky, oily, saltiness lingering… very intruging dram that I'd be happy to drink again.
Spice King - Old Fashioned
50 ml Spice King
15 ml sugar syrup
2 dashes of Old Fashioned bitters
Served with ice and a twist of orange peel
Orange oils all the way… and the bitters!
It's a little sweeter than I'd like an Old Fashioned to be, but the orange oils really cut through the smoky saltiness of the Spice King. Big spicy clove & cinnamon kick. It's pretty good!
Lots of bitter notes & orange oils yet the spirit isn't lost. With less sugar syrup this would be spot on.
My clear favourite was the Treacle Chest. It's rich, sweet and moreish. A really tasty autumnal dram! The Spice King and the Vanilla Chest were close, but I chose the Spice King over the Vanilla Chest because of its complexity. It intrigued me. The Vanilla Chest was nice, but of the three was the 'safest' in that it's a good tasty dram but not overly complex.
The cocktail to finish with was a nice touch though, and very enjoyable! So my thank to Wemyss Malts, and to Steve Rush of The Whisky Wire for letting me participate.