New Whiskies

Batch 6

by
Whisky glasses

Three creditable Wemyss blended malts, a mixed bag from Burn Stewart and a shy (by distillery standards) Glenfarclas make up this week’s batch, tasted and assessed by Chief Engineer Dave Broom.

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • The Hive (Wemyss Malts)

    Score 7.1/10
    Scoring explained >
    The Hive (Wemyss Malts)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Blended malt whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose
    Subtly sweet with a hint of honeysuckle (say this about Wemyss, their descriptors are usually bang on), but also a little shaving of oak and nuttiness adding dryness. In time, as it opens – even without water (which should be added sparingly, by the way) – it softens into orange blossom and syrup.
    Palate
    Clean and medium-weight with just a little heat to it – those bees sting. Then it settles back into that heavy honeysuckle flavour. Water allows a better spread over the tongue, bringing out a fruited waxiness.
    Finish
    Racy red fruit enlivens the finish.
    Conclusion
    Sweet, balanced and keenly priced. What are you waiting for?
    Right place, right time
    Hazy memories of drowsy summer afternoons.

    Peat Chimney (Wemyss Malts)

    Score 8.2/10
    Scoring explained >
    Peat Chimney (Wemyss Malts)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Blended malt whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose
    The immediate impression is how well-balanced all the elements are, with the smoke, initially at least, playing a slightly discreet role. It then begins to come forward – especially with water – giving images of a dying campfire on the beach, some seaweed, lemon posset and wet lichen.
    Palate
    An amazingly exotic note to start that brings to mind frankincense, resin, clove and sweet black fruits, then attar of roses. Water sadly kills this, but you do get this almost glossy smokiness which stretches out to the back palate.
    Finish
    Pears and red pepper flakes, then light smoke.
    Conclusion
    Very well put together, great balance and a steal at the price.
    Right place, right time
    The interior of Dunyvaig Castle when the Lords of the Isles were in residence.

    Spice King (Wemyss Malts)

    Score 6.7/10
    Scoring explained >
    Spice King (Wemyss Malts)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Blended malt whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose
    A touch of the old farmyard funkiness, a little Sherry and moist woods in autumn. An added background note of dried fruits and nut bowl. All in all, very warming with some smoke lurking behind.
    Palate
    A generous palate with Szechuan pepper and dry-roasted coriander and mustard seed. It is fairly hot, which masks what seems to be an interesting mix of dried fruits and chocolate. Water softens things.
    Finish
    Old paper, Victoria plum skin, hot.
    Conclusion
    Well enough balanced, but just a little edgy.
    Right place, right time
    Autumn Sunday walk, cold wind on the nose.

    Deanston 18 Years Old

    Score 7.3/10
    Scoring explained >
    Deanston 18 Years Old
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46.3%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose
    Nice to see Deanston with some age on it. A clean and slightly waxy/fruity nose. Deanston is the distillery which benefited the most from Burn Stewart’s decision to up strength and stop chill-filtering. Water shows a little gawkiness, so keep it neat.
    Palate
    Medium weight. Deliciously sweet start with juicy fruits. All quite plump and well-covered with that waxiness smearing itself over the back palate. Well-balanced with some complexity. Water reveals sweet fruits, dry oak and a crumble of cereal.
    Finish
    Sweet to start, then dries rather suddenly.
    Conclusion
    Very sound.
    Right place, right time
    Ian Macmillan’s farewell to the River Teith – which sounds like it could have been a Michael Marra song. Reason enough to revisit Marra's 'General Grant's Visit to Dundee'.

    Glenfarclas £511 19s 0d

    Score 8.4/10
    Scoring explained >
    Glenfarclas £511 19s 0d
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    43%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose
    Lighter than usual for ‘Farclas, but you still get positive Sherried notes that initially emerge like a cross between Manzanilla/light Palo Cortado, with lovely freshness allied to baked fruits, hazelnut before deepening into Highland toffee, then clover honey.
    Palate
    Clean with some light tannins. This is where you get some of the distillery’s signature depth and dunnage warehouse-like earthiness. More rooted, indeed rooty, but never loses the rather graceful sweetness. Water doesn’t help things at all, so keep it neat to maximise impact – and pleasure.
    Finish
    Long and sweet.
    Conclusion
    Having Glenfarclas in subtle and understated mode might surprise some. The unusual name refers to the price paid by the Grant family for the distillery.
    Right place, right time
    Sipping Sherry at sunset. The day’s residual heat seeps from the stones.

    Ledaig 18 Years Old

    Score 4/10
    Scoring explained >
    Ledaig 18 Years Old
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46.3%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islands
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose
    Ahh Ledaig… It’s… well... it’s rubbery. Think of a bicycle inner tube, new wellies or a Kwik-Fit depot. A slight agricultural note as well. With water the Kwik-Fit depot bursts into flames.
    Palate
    Smoke comes through from the start, drying and unbalancing the palate. Oilier than the nose suggests, but pungent and bone-dry.
    Finish
    Smoke.
    Conclusion
    Poor.
    Right place, right time
    A lifeboatman wearing new sea boots racing through Tobermory on his way to a blazing boat.
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