Steel Bonnets

Bottled by: Lakes Distillery
Bottled: 2018
ABV: 46.6%
More Info: WhiskyBase

Here’s a first! A blend of Scottish and English malt whiskies!

The Lakes Distillery have released this bottling in honour of the “Steel Bonnets”, the much-feared border reivers who raided settlements around the Scottish borders between the 13th and 17th centuries.

They did not see themselves as English or Scottish and developed a certain independence of spirit whose people were loyal to kin, not kingdom.

Check out the short film:

Sounds intriguing! Let’s get it in the glass…

Nose: Golden syrup, sourdough, roasted sweetcorn. Slightly coastal with sea shells and salt.

Palate: Salty toffee, vanilla cream, and barley sugar. Some bakings spices mingling with a soft note of wood smoke.

Finish: Cloves and oaky pepper.

A well-rounded blend that balances sweetness with smoky spices. This is very pleasant stuff to be enjoyed in the safety of your keep beyond the reach of any passing marauders.

There’s a load more information and bottles available for £65 here on the Lakes Distillery site.

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Wemyss Tweet Tasting: Batch Strength Editions

 

Oh, I do love what those folks at Wemyss Malts do. Their single cask bottlings are exceptional and their core range of blends is excellent.

So what about a cask strength line up of those core range blends? Ooooh, do tell me more. I was lucky enough to be on the tasting last year where they introduced the standard editions. It’s going to be fun tasting them at full cask strength!

The Hive Batch Strength 001

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-22-35-12Bottler: Wemyss Malts
Age: NAS
ABV: 54.5%

In to start with is the cask strength counterpart to Wemyss’ “The Hive” blend, a sweet honeyed dram that’ll have all the Highland malt fans sitting up and paying attention.

Nose: Surprisingly…honey! That light, runny supermarket stuff. Boiled toffee sweets. Menthol. Throat sweets. A whiff of the coast with wax jacket, salty air, and chalky cliffs. There’s an orangey, beery thing happening. Like a pint of Blue Moon with a slice of orange in it. Very three dimensional.
Palate: Sweet, exuberant, and spicy. Honeycomb, yellow sultanas, menthol, and sweet fizzing oak. Orange pith. Waxy and luscious on the tongue.
Finish: Easter egg chocolate, more runny honey and a tingly black pepper numbness.

It’s young and kicking this one. Lots of fun to drink and with bags more going on than it’s bottle strength counterpart.

 

Spice King Batch Strength 001

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-22-34-56Bottler: Wemyss Malts
Age:
NAS
ABV: 
56%

Up next is the Spice King, a very popular blend since its release a few years ago. So how is the full cask strength edition compared with the standard release?

Nose: Meaty with a sweet edge. A strong, peppery, smoky quality, too. Salt and pepper pork ribs. Dark, sticky prunes. Chargrilled pineapple. Salted caramel cake served with roast potatoes (weird, yes, but good weird). Wow.
Palate: Toffee apples with sweet cinnamon. Warm vanilla syrup. Cigar tobacco, mellow oak, smooth caramel. Not as spicy as the name would lead you to think!
Finish: Warm, long, and comforting. Rice pudding with nutmeg. Faint oak.

This is a lovely, complex, rich whisky that warms the cockles of your heart.

Peat Chimney Batch Strength 001

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-22-34-39Bottler: Wemyss Malts
Age: NAS
ABV: 57%

The final dram is the heavily peated “Peat Chimney” blend – an Islay blend special with a ton of beautiful smoky notes to enjoy.

Nose: Cured gammon over a pine log fire. Smoky and sweet. Roasted sweetcorn. Black coffee with cloves and treacle. A touch of o-zone with muddy boots and dry stone walls.
Palate: Boom! There’s the peat. Burnt lemons, followed by caramelised seaweed coated in hot butter. A mug of Ovaltine. Wafts of dry, hot smoke revealing sweet plum flesh and chilli peppers.
Finish: Very tingly, almost chewy peat. Cashew nuts and sweet peppers.

Oh yes. This is a rush. Loads of peat but balanced so well by a host of complementary flavours. I really do like this.

 

Rob Roy Cocktail

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And finally… Wemyss have treated us Tweet Tasters to a pre-mixed cocktail: A Rob Roy made using the heavily peated Peat Chimney blend.

In a nutshell: Sweet smoky cherries. The smoke really balances the sweetness and the cherry bitters and PX give it a rounded texture and complexity. Very compelling indeed. I’m not usually a cocktail drinker but this is very pleasant… Bravo!

As ever, many thanks to Steve Rush at The Whisky Wire for organising and thank you to Wemyss Malts for letting us taste your lovely blends. All the blends are available to buy from Wemyss’ directly.

 

The Half Century Blend

Bottled: 2016
Number of Bottles: 768
ABV: 45.5%
More Info: WhiskyBase

Far back in the mists of time, there existed an extraordinary era of whisky production where distilleries were unbridled by accountants and the constant demand for efficiency.

Whiskies produced in the 1960s and before display altogether different properties whether long-aged in barrel or in antique bottlings. The spirit production was slower with smaller yields but this more considered approach lead to a style of whisky that people are increasingly pining for.

To quote the chaps at The Blended Whisky Company,

“The result of all this inefficiency, waste and lost commercial-opportunity? Flavour, subtlety, poise, an incredible depth of fruit-character and a beguiling, ethereal quality sadly missing from many of today’s whiskies.”

This isn’t their first foray into exquisitely old and rare blends. Their Lost Distilleries blend and “The Golden Age” have each won multiple awards over the years so they really do know what they’re doing. This time around they’re decidedly tight-lipped as to the constituents. Maybe if we ask nicely they’ll give us a clue…

This blend is comprised entirely of whiskies aged for fifty years or more. That’s bonkers. You simply don’t get many chances to taste something like that. The challenging question is: is fifty years too much? Can the spirit stand up to that much oak?

God, I can’t wait to find out…

Colour: Amber – not as dark as you might expect for the age.

Body: Very viscous – thick beads and long legs.

Nose: Fruity and resinous. Apple blossom, brandied cherries, crème anglaise. Very clean, like fresh laundry, but with a spirity marker pen edge. As it opens up, there’s a little milk chocolate, sultanas, allspice, and fragrant wood resin. Cor, this is well layered.

Palate: Beautiful soft delivery with a promise of pepper that never quite stands up to the velvety oak. Yes, the decades in the cask has certainly left this feeling oaky but certainly not tired. There’s sweet satsuma, malty toffee, fiery gingerbread, warm strudel and viscous ice cream.

Finish: It just goes on… Warm, chewy oak with toasted coconut flakes and vanilla cream. Twenty minutes later and I can still taste it.

This is absolutely delicious. Very easy to drink (I found it needs no water) with a lot of classy whisky notes and plenty of character left after such an extended maturation. A tumbler of this in a wingback chair by an open fire and you’d be left wanting for nothing.

This stunning blend is available from today for the very reasonable price of £599.95 from those lovely chaps at Master of Malt. You can also find it at Amathus, Amazon, Harvey Nichols, Hedonism, and Ocado.

Wemyss Tweet Tasting #4

Wemyss have really impressed me over the past 12 months. At last year’s TWE Whisky Show, their single cask bottling of Caol Ila was sublime – far better than any other bottling I tried.

Up here in this tasting is their range of delicious blended malts, showcasing particularly the brand new release: Kiln Embers.

Let’s get started!

The Hive

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 19.03.55Bottler: Wemyss Malts
Age: NAS
ABV: 46%

Nose: Sweet straw, treacle, herbs, sea salt, boiled sweets

Palate: Lemon throat sweets leading to runny honey – like someone melted a Locket. Barley mixed with salt and pepper.

Body: Quite light and soft, drying at the end.

Finish: Long, oaky and lip smackingly sweet.

More coastal than expected! An easy sipping sweet dram with a good savoury side for balance.

Spice King

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 19.04.13Bottler: Wemyss Malts
Age:
NAS
ABV: 
46%

Nose: Nail polish, pear drops, dark sugar, ginger, sandy earth.

Palate: Cinnamon sticks, apple strüdel, golden syrup, chilli peppers

Body: Light and tangy.

Finish: Peppery with mixed nuts

Does what it says on the tin! Lots of barrel spice, like a very fragrant Bourbon.

Peat Chimney

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 19.04.26Bottler: Wemyss Malts
Age: NAS
ABV: 46%

Nose: Vacuum-packed ham, oatcakes, sea salt, sherbet.

Palate: Fruit and salty smoke. Pears, apples, lemons mixed with coastal spray and charcoal ash.

Body: Thick with beady legs.

Finish: Very oaky and dry with a sherbet tingle and chewy, nutty peat.

Very warming and comforting. Great meaty notes with coastal smoke. A beach BBQ dram. I feel like there’s Caol Ila in it.

Kiln Embers

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 19.04.38Bottler: Wemyss Malts
Age: NAS
ABV: 46%

Nose: Medicinal TCP and bandages. Burnt bacon. Sweet shop aromas of boiled sweets and sticky lollipops. After a while, a strong smell of sticky peanut butter.

Palate: Starts sweet and fragrant and builds to bonfire and gunpowder. Oranges, peaches and cream briefly before hot smoke and a deep, numbing chilli pepper burn.

Body: Viscous and mouthcoating.

Finish: When the fire calms down to embers, it leaves hot salted peanuts and peppery oak with buttery, burnt fried cabbage (nicer than it sounds!). Very long and moreish.

Reminds me very much of Big Peat. I think there’s some Ardbeg in this. Very nice stuff indeed. I think a bottle is in order for the Winter months.

Thanks to Steve Rush and the folks at Wemyss Malts for another great selection of whisky!