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Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
Blended Malts are fast becoming commonplace in the modern-day whisky market. Not to be confused with blended Scotch, which contains both malt and grain whisky, blended malt is made by combining a number of single malts from different distilleries. Still a blend yes, but without any so-called inferior grain whisky.
Many independent bottlers are creating their own blended malt brands and Wemyss Malts are no different. Founded in 2005 by William Wemyss, Wemyss Malts are bottlers of fine single cask Scotch, sourced from across Scotland’s many distilleries. William had spent years working in the wine industry but decided to expand the family business by branching into the national spirit of their homeland. This was not the family’s first dalliance with whisky, however. The legendary John Haig built his first distillery on land leased from the Wemyss family, while grain grown on the estate has long been used to supply other local distillers.
Adopting a rather unique approach to their products, each Wemyss release is named for its character as opposed to its point of origin. A core range of blended malts known as The Hive, Spice King and Peat Chimney are supplemented with occasional limited-edition releases, the latest of which is Kiln Embers.
Released in 2015 to celebrate the families 10th year in the industry, Kiln Embers relies heavily on malts from Islay. Bottled at 46% and un-chill-filtered, it is available in the UK for £40 – £45.
Smell: Smoke and Ash leap out of the glass. Rather like a damp, dying campfire. There’s also Honey, Orange and Lemon, Biscuit and Pastry – Apple Pie even.
Taste: There’s a lovely silky texture on the palate with Orange and Caramel, lots of Pepper and that Smoke and Ash again with a large helping of Liquorice.
Thoughts: A great value dram that offers a complex, smoky flavour profile for a great price. There are peatier whiskies out there, so don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s all about the smoke. There’s a lot more than that going on here.
If you’re seeing single malt climbing in price and finding yourself a little bit frustrated by it, blended malts could be the answer. Sure the provenance is a little sketchy but the quality to price ratio can be really impressive.
If smoke isn’t your thing, try Spice King or The Hive – two other excellent drams from Wemyss Malts.