Blended Malts are becoming a regular feature of the whisky industry. Not to be confused with blended scotch, which contains both malt whisky and spirit distilled from other grains, blended malts are 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 launching their own blended malt brands and Wemyss Malts are no different. Founded in 2005 by William Wemyss, Wemyss Malts bottle fine single cask scotch from all over the country and produce a range of blended malts.
William Wemyss had spent many years working in the wine industry and decided to expand the family business by becoming involved with the national drink of their homeland. Family connections to the industry go back some way for the legendary John Haig built his first distillery on Wemyss land. Even today, many distillers use barley grown on the family estate and Cameron Bridge grain distillery is only six miles from Wemyss Castle.
Adopting a rather unique approach to their products, each Wemyss release is named for it’s character, like The Hive, Spice King and Peat Chimney. In addition to this core range, special editions are released in one-off limited edition batches, the latest of which, is Kiln Embers.
Released in 2015 to celebrate the companies 10th anniversary, Kiln Embers relies heavily on malts from Islay. Bottled at 46% and un chill-filtered, it is available in the UK for £40 – £45.
On the nose, you are greeted with Smoke and Ash which leap out the glass. Rather like a damp, dying campfire. There’s also Honey, Orange and Lemon, Biscuit and Pastry – Apple Pie even. 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.
Smell: Smokey but not over-poweringly so. There’s a strong malty quality that shines through as well.
Taste: Great mouthfeel and well balanced flavours. Again, the smoke is ever-present but doesn’t dominate.
Value for Money: For around £40 this is a great buy. As the price of some single malts get higher and customers pay more for younger and younger whisky, blended malts like this represent some great value for money.
Score: 45.5 / 50. Great stuff – assuming you like it smokey. If not, try some of the other releases from Wemyss, you won’t be disappointed.