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Watt Whisky was founded by Mark and Kate Watt in 2020. With more than 40 years of experience in the whisky industry between them, this husband and wife team are a formidable pairing and their new independent bottling business got off to an impressive start, with two batches of single cask spirits launched in their first year.
Mark and Kate were kind enough to send me samples of their third batch, released in Spring 2021. This is the second half of my review. You can read part 1 here.
For more on Watt Whisky, visit here.
*Full disclosure: I was sent these samples free of charge. As always I will strive to give an honest opinion on the quality of the drams and the value for money they represent.
Foursquare Barbados Rum. Aged 13 years. 57.1%.
This rum was distilled in 2007 at the Foursquare distillery. It was aged for 11 years in Barbados with a further 2 years maturation in Europe. There were 294 bottles available.
Smell: Dried fruits. Marmalade. Winter spices – nutmeg and clove. Ginger biscuits. Banana and mango. Nice herbal note too. Even a little bit of fresh mint.
Taste: A little bit funky at first. Ginger biscuits again. Banana. Orange peel. Pineapple. Cinnamon. More dried fruits. Lots of woody spice.
Thoughts: Retailed around £85 a bottle but from what I can see it already seems to be sold out everywhere. To be honest I’m not surprised because it’s very good. Certainly, I would have been happy to pay the price for it had I got the finger out a little faster.
I don’t know Rum very well. I always like to clarify that before expressing an opinion on it. I’ve been tasting whisky pretty intensively for some years now and have built up an understanding of what, in my opinion, makes a good dram. I don’t have anything like the same experience with Rum. However, that won’t stop me from sharing my thoughts. I like this. I sometimes struggle with the funky stuff and after a quick sniff, I thought that’s what was in store here but it actually wasn’t. It opened rather well and found a nice balance between a lot of different flavours.
Single Malt from a Highland Distillery. Aged 16 years. 57.1%
Distilled 2005 at an undisclosed distillery in the Highlands of Scotland. Matured for 16 years in a refill sherry butt. Bottled at 57.1%. 628 bottles available. Retails for £87.95.
Smell: Lots of dried fruits: raisins, sultanas, figs… Highland toffee. Honeycomb. Cinnamon. Dark chocolate. Orange peel. Water tones down the sherry a little and allows some malt and vanilla to come through.
Taste: Juicy raisins. Runny honey. Toffee apples. Cinnamon and ginger. Dark chocolate. Oak. Walnut. Tobacco. Water calms the spice and creates a more complex, rounded dram. I started to find raspberry and cherry notes with some orange zest.
Thoughts: 16 years is a decent age for a single cask. I won’t mention where this dram comes from but the Watts dropped some subtle hints on their social media accounts if you want to take a look. Suffice to say, there is an official bottling at 18 years of age that will cost around the same as this, but it’s bottled at 43%. I know which one I’d rather have in my cabinet.
Particularly with water added, this is a gem. I don’t think you’d categorise it as a full-scale sherry bomb but the wine has certainly taken hold. Watt Whisky tends to shy away from overly-active casks (no bad thing) and this is probably about as far towards the cask end of the scale as they’ve gone thus far. Crucially, the whisky has managed to retain a certain level of balance. Sometimes, this distillery produces whisky that’s a little light-bodied for my tastes but at full cask strength, there are no such issues here. A lovely highland malt.
Tomintoul Single Malt. Aged 10 Years. 56.7%
Distilled at Tomintoul in the Speyside region. Aged for 10 years in a refill butt and bottled at 56.7%. 246 bottles available. Retails for £67.
Smell: Orchard fruits. Apple. Lemon. Grapes. Barley sugars. Malt. Shortbread. Almonds and vanilla cream.
Taste: Marzipan and fizzy sweets. Vanilla. Malt. Apple and honey. Werther’s Original sweets. Subtle dried fruits notes. Wee dusting of cinnamon.
Thoughts: £67 for a ten-year-old seems a bit high but then, I’ve paid more than that for drams that don’t even say how old they are. All you can do is judge it on quality and while it isn’t a classic, it’s still a very good Speyside malt.
I have to confess, I got the order wrong in tasting these drams. The Tomintoul should have come first. That may seem obvious, but I was trying to get through a lot of tasting notes in one day. Anyway, after the rum and Highland malt, I ended up walking away from the table. I was getting nothing when I stuck my nose in this glass. A few hours later, however, things were very different. There’s nothing flashy about the whisky, it’s just a straight-forward Speyside malt that’s been allowed to do its thing with minimal interference. It’s worth noting, however, that I find official bottlings of Tomintoul to be far too delicate for my palate. With this offering coming straight from the cask, the flavour profile is more intense and altogether more satisfying.