Last year, I had the pleasure of getting to know Wemyss Malts’ core range of blended whiskies. Recently, the independent bottler has grown its range with the creation of the Weymss Malts Batch Strength collecton. The three new expressions, which comprise just 6,000 bottles, are non chill-filtered and bottled “at the strength found to be ideal for the character of the individual batch”.
The Hive Batch Strength 001 54.5% ABV
Wemyss have tailored the blend recipe for The Hive to increase the deepness of the sweetness, up the viscosity of the mouthful and remove any smokiness by using unpeated core malts. The nose on this was very fresh and light for a batch strength whisky, with sweet citrus coming through. I also detected a slight hint of sea salt. The 54.5% ABV came flying in on the palate. There’s loads of orange – almost like barley sugars – and a sweetness of heather honey, along with a hint of spice. Adding a bit of water makes that strong bite disappear but without sacrificing flavour.
Spice King Batch Strength 001 56.0% ABV
The Spice King has been made using an assortment of West Coast signature malts. This helps to give the whisky a robust, meaty and leathery nose. There’s a sprinkling of both salt and pepper, with a bit of smoke also in the mix. Again, that strong ABV is managing to hide itself. The palate delivers on the promise of the name with a beautiful burst of spice and a warming hint of peat. The perfect dram for a cold November night. Just like The Hive, a bit of water rounds off the sharper corners but it’s still blooming lovely!
Peat Chimney Batch Strength 001 57.0% ABV
The Batch Strength version of Peat Chimney is made using roughly the same recipe at the non chill-filtered, 46% core variant. I found the nose on this one to be extremely shy; reminding me of Islay’s less-smonkey whiskies, including Bruichladdich and Caol Ila. However, the palate introduces a perfect balance between smoke, sweet and fruit, with an extra kick of smoke and hint of salt at the end. The addition of water brings the smoke in this to the fore, with the fruit and sweetness following in its wake.
(You’ll see above that the tasting above also involved a pre-mixed Rob Roy cocktail and, although it was a touch on the sweet side for me, it demonstrated the versatility of the new range).
I found this range to be a real step up in quality for Wemyss. The company’s blending excellence is demonstrated by the fact that the whiskies are fantastic by themselves, but also gain a new dimension with the addition of a bit of water. Although I enjoyed each of them immensely, I’d have to plump for the Spice King as my favourite of the three.
You can find out more about Wemyss Malts Batch Strength range at www.wemyssmalts.com