It’s always exciting when Wemyss Malts bring out new whiskies. I’ve covered their bottlings many, many times on Malt, with over a dozen tasting notes to date. I’ve never had a bad whisky from them. Some have been okay, others outstanding, but you’re always going to find something interesting with their releases.
There’s a new series out – the Wemyss Family Collection. The first two releases are basically two different whisky styles, ex-bourbon cask matured whisky called Vanilla Burst, due to the vanilla-heavy flavours one finds from maturation in American Oak, and an ex-sherry cask matured whisky called Treacle Burst, which again riffs on what one finds from maturation in ex-sherry casks (be that American Oak or European Oak – it’s not specified which species of oak it is).
Wemyss Malts release a great many blended malts, and this new series is still in that style. Vanilla Burst is a blend of two Speyside single malts that matured in “15 first-fill ex-Bourbon barrels”, while Treacle Chest is a blend of two Highland single malts matured in “14 first-fill ex-Sherry hogsheads”. Vanilla Burst (£43) and Treacle Chest (£47), are non-chill-filtered, natural colour, and they’re bottled at 46% ABV.
Vanilla Burst Review
Colour: old gold.
On the nose: vanilla! Certainly does what it says on the tin. Quite a malty and syrupy vanilla, with notes of citrus. Orchard fruits, pears predominantly. Creamy – cream cheese perhaps. Stem ginger. Touches of pineapple and grapefruit. Slightly grassy once the fun dies down, leading me to believe there’s some youth or ineffectual wood around for one of the components at least.
In the mouth: very much a follow-on from the mouth, nice rounded texture. Let’s get the vanilla out of the way. A ginger warmth, with plenty of baked apples, cinnamon, golden syrup and lemon juice. Grassy and peppery; something about this suggests plenty of refill casks. Medium to short oily, straw-like finish.
Not the best thing Wemyss have released, if I’m honest, given their track record of good blended malts.
Treacle Chest Review
On the nose: oomph, now that’s lovely for a sherry fiend like myself. Really rich and heady: maple syrup, molasses, with muscovado sugar and Tiramisu. Figs, raisins. Some fresher fruits in there too, such as mango and apple. Heather honey.
In the mouth: veers away from the terrific nose. Lightly oily texture, with sultanas, raisins and plenty of dried apricots. Some tropical notes simmering away underneath, pineapple and mango, but then the flavours seem to drop off quickly, leaving you with some oily pepperiness that doesn’t sit too well with the rest – and that makes for a short, warming finish.
Both quirky whiskies, but they’re perhaps not the greatest things that Wemyss have released – I’m an honest reviewer, despite the fact that these were very kindly sent to me from Wemyss. I much prefer some of the wonderful other blended malts that the brand has released in the past. I don’t think they’ll ever surpass the great Velvet Fig.