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Over the course of my recent reviews I’ve been sampling some new single cask releases from independent bottler, Watt Whisky. This review concludes this wee mini-series with another pair of really interesting drams. The first is a blend of Campbeltown malts, the second is a 17-year-old single malt from an undisclosed (sort of) Highland distillery.
For part one of this series, featuring Loch Lomond and Dumbarton, click here.
For part two, featuring Auchroisk and Clynelish, click here.
Campbeltown 5 Year Old Blended Malt
A blend of malts from Campbeltown that’s been aged for 5 years in an ex-bourbon barrel. No idea which distilleries have contributed but since there’s only three possibilities you can probably make an educated guess.
The whisky was distilled in 2017 and bottled 2022. It’s 57.1% alcohol by volume with only 150 bottles available. This one is available exclusively in Campbeltown so if you really fancy a bottle, you’ll have to plan a trip.
Smell: Vanilla. Honey. Hobnobs. Apple. Orange. Hazelnut. Buttery shortbread. Lemon. Pear. Caramel. Pepper. Some soft baking spices. Subtly coastal with sea spray and stony beaches.
Taste: Honeyed apples and pears. Caramel biscuits. New oak. Malt. Olive oil. Orange. Charcoal and ash. Some nice toffee notes coming through. More of that seaside vibe, though again, fairly subtle. Perhaps the slightest hint of smoke on the finish.
Thoughts: I’m not sure complexity is the right word here. Depth perhaps would be more appropriate. It’s not that there’s loads going on it’s that what’s going on is really good. It’s a simple whisky in many ways but it’s absolutely nailing it anyway. Lots of fully flavoured fruit notes, a nice malty base and the gentle touch of the oak cask with some subtle hints of the sea. In truth, this whisky is better than it has any right to be. It’s nicely balanced, robust and gently spicy. It’s really quite brilliant.
Value for money: At £50 a bottle this is an absolute bargain. I’m not going to suggest it’s worth making the long journey to Campbeltown for but if you’re visiting the Wee Toon anyway, be sure to pull yourself away from Springbank long enough to grab this wee beauty. You won’t regret it.
Undisclosed Highland Distillery 17 Year Old Single Malt
The name of the distillery that produced this whisky has been left unsaid. However, the name Westport appears on the label instead. Westport is usually assigned to a “teaspooned” malt from a famous distillery but this is 100% single malt.
The whisky has been matured for 17 years in a sherry hogshead. It was distilled in 2005 and bottled 2022 at 57.1%. There are 198 bottles available.
Smell: Rich and full of aromatic spice. Raisins and sultanas. Glace cherries. Cranberry. Cinnamon, clove. Leather jackets. Walnut. Rolling tobacco. Touch of citrus in the oak.
Taste: Toffee. Chocolate raisins. Golden syrup and treacle. Lots of oaky spice. Dark chocolate. Orange zest. Black peppercorns. Wee touch of ginger.
Thoughts: The sherry hogshead has been dominant but I don’t think you’d call this a sherry bomb. It’s not one of those black whiskies that taste of nothing but dried fruits. Instead it offers balance between the character of the fortified wine and the spice of the old oak. There’s also a wee touch of some red fruit top notes that really elevate it. It’s not the weightiest of whiskies but the natural oils left intact thanks to the lack of chill filtering help to deliver the flavours in a very satisfying way. Wonderfully luxurious.
Value for money: This one is at the pricier end of the batch but at 17 years it’s also the oldest and given the premium that sherry maturation often puts on Scotch whisky, I’d say this is actually very well priced.
For more on Watt Whisky visit https://wattwhisky.com/