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Watt Whisky have been bottling single cask spirits since early 2020. Husband and wife team Mark and Kate Watt have released some excellent whisky thus far and the launch of their fourth batch in summer of this year looked to promise more of the same.
I’ve already covered three drams from this range in a previous article. You can read about them here.
Glen Elgin 14-Year-Old Single Malt (51.3%)
Glen Elgin is a little-known Speyside distillery that produces whisky predominantly for use in Diageo’s blends.
This Watt Whisky bottling was distilled in 2007. It was aged for 14 years in a hogshead before bottling at 51.3%. Retailed at £66.95.
Smell: Quite a typical Speyside character. Lots of orchard fruits. Slightly floral. Malty bread. Honey. Baking spices. Lemongrass and fresh, herbal mint.
Taste: Honey. Vanilla fudge. Toffee. Spicy peppers. Oak. A splash of water toned down the spice and allowed some fruity notes to come through. There was apple, pear and a bit of citrus.
Thoughts: £67 is probably pretty reasonable for a single cask malt of 14 years. I’m not sure I would pay it myself, but I think that’s an issue of personal taste rather than any lack of quality. The dram is perfectly fine. It just didn’t grab me.
It’s got a lovely mouthfeel and there’s good depth to the flavour but perhaps it lacks one or two interesting notes that would have it really stand out in a crowd? Don’t be put off though, I’m sure some people will love this, it just didn’t quite float my boat. That’s ok, you can’t win them all.
Port Dundas 20-Year-Old Single Grain (57.1%)
Port Dundas is a lost grain distillery that once stood in the north of the city of Glasgow. I used to work in an office near the distillery and on my morning walk to work I could smell the mash wafting down from the hill. Sadly, the distillery has been completely demolished now.
This Port Dundas dram was distilled in 2000. It was aged for 20 years in a barrel and bottled at 57.1%. Retails for £85.
Smell: For a grain, there’s quite a lot of bourbon on the nose. You get lots of those caramel and vanilla notes. Toffee. Some cinnamon too. Under that is the traditional grain character with créme brûleé and coconut and custard creams.
Taste: Fully flavoured with a surprisingly oily mouthfeel. Lots of caramel and peppery spice. Honey and vanilla. Old oak. Water brought out some apple, some pear and some white grapes. Some citrus coming through with the oak, as well.
Thoughts: This is a really interesting one. In the past I’ve complained that a lot of grain whiskies taste, pretty much, the same. This one is different. It’s surprisingly rich with decent weight on the palate. All the common grain whisky notes are there but there’s also been some serious interaction with the cask.
In terms of price, you can’t really argue with £85 for a 20-year-old whisky. Even for grain that seems to be on the affordable side.
Paul John 4-Year-Old Indian Single Malt (57.1%)
Paul John is a brand of single malt whiskies that are produced by John Distilleries Ltd in Goa, India.
Watt Whisky have bottled a 4-year-old, distilled in 2016 and aged in a barrel. It has been bottled at 57.1% and retails for £85.95.
Smell: Lots of fruity top notes. Red fruits and berries. Oak and woody spice. Rum and raisin. Vanilla. Coconut and walnut. Water lessens the intensity of the oak and brings out a honeyed malt character. Gristy. Slightly floral.
Taste: Big bourbon arrival. Lots of caramel and cinnamon. Clove and nutmeg. Raisin. Cherry. Oaky finish. For my tastes, a little too spicy without water. With water there’s greater balance with more of the cherry and even cranberry. Srong oak tannins continue to form the backbone.
Thoughts: It’s quite incredible how much the oak has influenced this whisky in just four years. It’s almost too much. Thankfully with water the dram opens up and a better balance is found between spirit and cask but even so, it remains a robust, chewy whisky. Probably more like a bourbon that a Scotch but enjoyable nevertheless.
The price may put some people off but I can only say that in my experience, it seems in line with other single cask bottlings of Paul John. If anything, it veers on the affordable side of similar releases. Not sure it would be for me at that price but those who like their whisky cask-heavy will lap this up.
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