I seem to be getting through a lot of whiskies from Wemyss Malts. That must be a sign of something. I must have said all I can say about them by now, but suffice to say: I do like their whiskies. From blends to single casks. And I don’t just enjoy the samples they send – I throw my cash at them too. The last one I bought was a gorgeous 1982 Aultmore, which I reviewed a while back, but took me a few months to actually track down. (These are limited single cask whiskies, distributed across Europe.) Sadly that bottle is now empty.
With delight, I received another care package from Wemyss. Three sparkling samples, ready to taste. I’ve spoken about Wemyss many times before, so read this post for a bit of a summary of them. Meanwhile, I might as well get stuck in to the whiskies.
“Persian Anise” 1992 Longmorn
Colour: old gold.
On the nose: massively fragrant, with garden scents such as honeysuckle or old rose varieties, followed by big fruit: baked apples, pears in syrup, orange marmalade. A little bit of maltiness – Horlicks, Malted Milk biscuits. Then the sweetness dies back to a slightly more acidic, balsamic tartness.
In the mouth: full-on meaty Longmorn. Rich, with plenty of syrup, toffee fudge qualities showing. Very, very intense, if a little plain. Balsamic vinegar and tomato ketchup showing in places. Slight menthol note. Water tames it immediately, but also takes away some of the fruity fun. Cloves on the finish.
“Pear Créme” 1998 Auchentoshan
Colour: pale gold.
On the nose: that’s remarkably fresh and fragrant. Indeed a sort of half-way house between crème fraîche and apples simmering away in a pan of sugar. Once that fades there’s a grassiness. Pineapple and mango. Haybarns right at the end.
In the mouth: Grassy. Good minerality. Grapefruit juice, followed by gooseberries. Then custard creme biscuits. Golden syrup. Only a little bit of toffee fudge, with a lingering and light finish. Unusual, but a good example of a light whisky done well. I don’t really like much from Auchentoshan, but this lets the character shine more so.
“Cream of the Crop” 1989 Glen Garioch
Colour: deep gold.
On the nose: a sexy, voluptuous, fruity tart. Jam tart, that is, with strawberry jam and lovely pastry note. Beautifully perfumed. Plums, blackberries, fresh strawberries. Fresh figs. Divine! I can’t get rid of jam tarts, with a fresh cup of afternoon tea.
In the mouth: so elegant, not particularly heavy here, just light and classy. Very focussed on the fruit at first, redcurrant sauce, crabapples in syrup, peaches and apricots. Then more unusual qualities: a speck of ash, leather and tobacco, but it isn’t deep and intense like in some sherry bomb. Again, a light touch. Warming finish of nutmeg and cinnamon. A lady in her prime, drawing on a small cigar.
The Glen Garioch 1989 costs just over £100, which for a 27 year old whisky in this day and age isn’t bad at all. It is exceptionally good though, and clearly the better of these three. It’s not a blunt whisky forcing character upon you, but something of great subtlety and charm. I thought the Auchentoshan was the weakest, and didn’t really do much for me if I’m honest (which I am), but then again that might be simply this distillery’s character that I have a lot of trouble with in general.