Across the world, whisky drinkers have begun to explore and wander into the virtual realm of online tastings at home; a reality of what may be the new ordinary way to discover and share drams. Here at Glengarry, we certainly miss holding frequent spirit tastings, face to face, however thought to give this virtual thing a go. It was a special tasting last night, not only because it was our first try at it but because we were sharing some delightful blended malts and single cask expressions from the adored Wemyss Malts Distillery; fortunately for those who attended but also for ourselves, we were joined by Steven Shand, who has a major part to play in the creation and execution of the distilleries undertakings, as the blender and brand manager.
Fittingly we first delved into two blended malts, which reside under the banner of The Wemyss Family Collection. This hosts a series of blended malt Scotch whiskies crafted from the Wemyss family’s own selection of maturing cask stocks. Vanilla Burst was one of the first Family collection releases and this is what we started the tasting with. It packed a vanillin punch from the ex-bourbon barrels; its very refreshing and clean, vatted from 2 Speyside distilleries a total of 15 casks in this blended malt.
Blooming Gorse proved to be a full complex whisky, delivering a complex of flavours, well balanced and complete. The name Blooming Gorse does lend itself to the lactone it shares with the coconut characteristic you will find in this whisky. Sourced from 2 northern highland distilleries, 19 ex-bourbon barrels 1st fill with 4 being hogsheads. Love the finish – “firm grippy”.
Moving into the core range, we tasted The Hive 12 year old. This age statement of The Hive has completed its run and the distillery are now only releasing the Non-Age-Statement. Luckily for us, we have a handful in our possession. It’s a delicious smooth and easy style of predominately Speyside and Lowland whiskies that make this honeyed and delicate dram.
Batch Strength, Limited Edition is a release of blended malt Scotch whiskies, each bottled at the strength chosen to be ideal for the character of the individual limited edition of bottles. From this range we tasted the Spice King. With an emphasis on KING. Hand blended to sit at 58% ABV. This malt from the highlands is bigger than you would expect, high alcohol and rich while holding a beautiful wood smoke flavour.
To complete the evening, we tasted two stunning releases from the Wemyss Independent Bottlings. This range aims to celebrate the different regions of Scotland and the nature of selecting individual single casks which is all about finding hidden gems and expressions that provoke interest and charm.
Zesty Effervescence Glen Grant 1995, a single cask selected from a distillery usually known for using in blends. A gem! This single malt was zesty, full and well rounded. A complete enjoyable dram which is a little dry and beautifully opens well with a drop of water.
Beekeepers Smoker Croftengea 2006, Jaks favourite and a rare Loch Lomond cask. A complex woody smoke. Not heavy, but gentle and fresh. While subtle it’s a unique flavoursome dram delivering excellent value.
Many thanks to everyone who choose to join in these new adventures online for us and a big thank you to Steven Shand for hosting us kiwi-folk and for sharing some very enlightening stories – we hope you enjoyed your 8am whisky breakfast.