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Wemyss Vintage Malts

by Gavin Smith, 2007

Following the successful release of several single cask bottlings last year, Wemyss Vintage Malts has now produced a further six diverse offerings, all bottled at 46%abv, with no added caramel and without chill-filtration. The company is headed by Fife landowner and businessman William Wemyss, whose family connection with the whisky industry dates back to the turn of the 19th century, when the Haig's first distillery was built on Wemyss' land.

The Vintage Malts series was developed in order to make malt whisky more accessible to potential consumers, and according to William Wemyss, "By using the aromas and tastes of the individual whiskies to uniquely identify each bottling, the consumer is able to easily understand what style of whisky is being purchased."

Stockists include: Constantine's Stores (01326 340226), Cork's of Cotham (01179 731620), Handford's (020 7221 9614) and The Wine Mill (01282 614618).

the whiskies

The Almond Tree, 1970 Single Campbeltown Malt
Just 165 bottles of this vintage expression of Springbank have been produced, and unlike all the other bottlings in this range, it is offered at a cask strength of 46.1%ABV. The name really says it all. Almond, linseed and sour dough dominate the nose, along with Springbank's signature saltiness. The palate is big and surprisingly zesty for its age, with sweet fruits, putty, more almonds and developing pepper. The finish is long, with sherbet, spices, salt, and, yes, more almonds! 155.99.

Coconut Cream, 1990 Single Speyside Malt
This is a bottling from Linkwood distillery, near Elgin, and was matured in a refill hogshead. Fresh, clean and fruity on the nose. Water releases spruce and coconut notes. The palate is intense and powerfully fruity, with succulent, sweet berries. Long and attractive in the finish, with lingering blackberries. 376 bottles. 68.99.

Glace Fruits, 1994 Single Speyside Malt
This expression of Tamdhu comes from an American oak refill hogshead. The nose is light and quite grassy, fragrant, with delicate malt. Soft and sweet in the mouth, with fresh fruits. The finish is longer than might be expected, with spices and a sprinkling of pepper. Well-mannered in a quintessentially Speyside way. 367 bottles. 49.99.

Apples and Pears, 1991 Single Speyside Malt
Rather curiously, Wemyss has also chosen a second expression of Tamdhu for this line up, with just three years separating the two bottlings. Less sweet, and slightly more oaky, than the 1994 expression, with a distinct note of newly-struck matches. Comparatively oily on the palate, with rye bread, fresh fruits and background coconut, plus a hint of smoke. Quite long, nutty, and steadily drying in the finish. 331 bottles. 64.99.

Smoked Sausages, 1991 Single Islay Malt
From Islay's Caol Ila distillery, this malt presents a delicious nose of fresh peat, smoked meat and carbolic. Exposure to air and the addition of water tease out more fruity notes. The palate gives classic Caol Ila peat, smoke, nuts and a degree of oiliness, with a slightly acidic edge. The finish is long, with a hint of cocoa and lingering barbecues. 409 bottles. 57.99.

Chocolate Heaven, 1995 Single Speyside Malt
Produced at Benrinnes distillery, near Aberlour on Speyside, this whisky offers a medium-sweet nose, with fresh fruits and background perfume and chocolate. Water releases zesty violet notes. The mouthfeel is muscular, sweet on the palate, with hazelnuts and a slightly meaty, savoury aspect, common in Benrinnes. The finish is quite long and drying, with a sustained spicy, savoury character. 341 bottles. 63.99.

Weymss Vintage Malts
First Floor
30 Castle Street
Tel: 0131 225 9305
Fax: 0131-225-6214


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