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Whisky Review #49 – Wemyss Malt 1990

We are reviewing an interesting bottle today – The Wemyss Malt 1990. Although it is supposed to be a “secret” whisky, we are putting our fingers on Mortlach! Here are some of the interesting details of this bottle.

Name: Single Speyside Scotch Whisky “Freshly Cut Grass” (Single Cask)
Bottler: Wemyss
Bottled in: August 2010
Aged: 20 Years
Cask: Refill Puncheon
Number of bottles: 559

Mortlach is the first distillery in Dufftown, Scotland after the Excise Act was passed. James Findlater founded the distillery in 1823. William Grant, the founder of Glenfiddich, used to work at Mortlach distillery for more than 20 years before he went on to found Glenfiddich. In a way, we could probably say that Mortlach is the grandfather distillery in Dufftown, Scotland.

Let’s dive into the review without too much history. We will leave that for another day.

Tasting Notes:

Colour: Gold
ABV: 46%

Nose: Freshly cut grass (as the name suggested) with a background spice hits the nose. Green apples with hints of oaky malts start to form as we nose it further. Sherry notes can be detected in the background after some time. (17/20)

Palate: Spicy mouthfeel covers the palate at the entry but the second sip reveals sweet sherry, green apples and green bananas. Let the whisky sit for a while, and we found fresh, green salads with green fruits on the side. (18/20)

Finish: The finish is medium long with a pleasant sweetness of sherry and green fruits. (17/20)

Body: Well-balanced and fresh whisky that delivers what the nose promised. A refreshing dram indeed! (32/40)

Total Score: 84/100

Comments:

Geek Flora: “This is a nice, fresh whisky that delivers exactly what the name promised. The freshness of grass and various green vegetables and fruits combined with the sherry overtones to create a well-balanced whisky that is not too complex and easy to drink.”

 

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Whisky Review #44 – The Single Cask Balmenach 12 Years Old

Balmenach Distillery is not a well-known one considering its links to the blending houses. In the 1800s, the distillery was one of the many illicit distilleries in Scotland. James McGregor founded the Balmenach Distillery officially in 1824 after he obtained a license. The McGregor family sold the distillery in 1992 and it was mothballed in 1993 by its new owners. Inver House Distillers bought the distillery in 1998 and the first distillate of Balmenach was produced in March 1998. The distillery provides blending houses with whisky and hardly ever bottle their own single malt. However, rumours have it that we might see something from Balmenach in 2018. The distillery also produces the popular Caorunn Gin on its premises.

Balmenach distillery uses worm tubs for distillation, which makes their whisky sulphuric. Worm tubs make use of 100m long copper coiling submerge in water for distillate to pass through. While copper usually “purify” the sulphur in the distillate, worm tubs make it harder for the copper to perform “their duties” as they have to clean the water too. That results in a new spirit that still contains sulphur.

Let’s move on to the review now.

Tasting Notes:

Colour: Deep Gold
ABV: 50%

Nose: Hmm…the first nose reminds me of Juicy Fruits – the popular chewing gum flavour from Wrigley’s. Sweet bananas, cherry liquorice and cotton candy blend together to create a pleasant nose. Hints of savoury meats (roast pork) and spices linger in the background. (18/20)

Palate: The entry is full of butterscotch and banana, but the spice that is promised in the nose is also on the forefront. The blend of sweet and spice makes a good balance on the palate, making it a relatively easy drink even at 50% abv. (17/20)

Finish: A long finish that is spicy with some sulphuric notes. The sulphur becomes extremely distinguished if water is taken when the whisky is still lingering in the mouth. (17/20)

Body: A superb well-balanced expression that impresses me with its quality mix of sweet and spice. The palate delivers what the nose promises and the finish does not disappoint. (35/40)

Total Score: 87/100

Comments:

Geek Flora: “This whisky brings me back to my childhood where I chewed on Juicy Fruits gums for hours even after the flavours were gone. Putting my sentiments aside, I think this whisky is a great dram as it makes a good balance on the nose, palate and finish. If you are thinking of buying your next whisky bottle, do consider this one!”

 

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Whisky News: New Speyside Distillery Slated to Open

Speyside, Scotland is about to get a new distillery. The Cabrach Trust has announced plans to build Cabrach Distillery in the Cabrach area on the southern edge of Moray, which is also the heart of Speyside. The Moray Council has given the approval for the Cabrach Trust to build the distillery recently.

The new £5.3M whisky distillery plans to employ traditional distilling and bottling methods passed down from years gone by. The aim of the Cabrach Trust is to put Cabrach back on the whisky map and recalling its long history of Scotch whisky production. Cabrach is said to be one of the earliest places where illicit stills and smuggling of whisky could be found in ancient times.

Construction plans are slated for June 2018 and production to start in 2019. The first bottling of matured whisky from Cabrach Distillery is planned for 2024, where 150,000 bottles are expected to be released each year thereafter. Cabrach Distillery is committed to source all ingredients locally and their water source is natural springs located on the land surrounding the distillery. The whisky will be matured in quarter casks (50 litres) and bottled directly on site. With such small casks, we can expect great whiskies from Cabrach Distillery!

In the meanwhile, Cabrach Trust is busy working out the final specification for the distillery. They are also conducting deeper research with the ICBD regarding the exact balance for process, ingredients and maturation to get the flavour right for their whisky.

A share offer will be announced early next year to give supporters a chance to be involved in the early stages of the distillery and own a small piece of whisky history.

Upcoming Event – Spirits of Speyside Whisky Festival 2018

If you are planning to attend whisky events in 2018, here’s one which you can start making plans for. The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival is going to be held from 3 to 7 May 2018 in Speyside, Scotland. This iconic whisky festival is one of its kind where the distilleries in Speyside will be open to visitors through special booking tours. The difficult to reach distilleries will also be accessible during this period as buses will be deployed to ply two different routes to the various distilleries located along the river Spey.

Speyside Distilleries

Speyside plays host to more than half of all distilleries in Scotland. With the highest concentration of malt whisky producers located in Speyside, you can expect a wide variety of whiskies in the region. We can broadly classify Speyside whiskies into two camps – the light, grassy “lunchtime” whiskies such as Glenlivet, and the rich and flavourful sherry whiskies of Macallan. While not all whiskies in Speyside fall into either one of the categories, most of the whiskies produced in this region can be loosely classified as such.

Distilleries in Speyside

The map above shows all the whisky distilleries in Speyside and where each of them are located. The map has also marked out the key routes that you can take if you are driving, as well as the route that the buses will be plying if you intend to make use of the buses. On top of that, the Spirit of Speyside whisky festival will also be engaging local taxi companies to fetch visitors to distilleries that are not on the bus routes. If you have budget to spare and want to have a customised whisky distillery tour to your favourite distilleries, you can even engage local private hire companies to bring you for a first class experience!

Accommodation in Speyside

Accommodation in Speyside is not a problem due to its large number of accommodations. You can choose to stay in quaint little cottages, historic hotels, beautiful castles turned hotels, quirky DIY hotels, B&Bs or even camp in the great outdoors. A world class experience awaits you regardless of the type of accommodation you choose.

Dining Choices in Speyside

Food is just as important as the whiskies in Speyside, and visitors can expect a great variety of cuisines made with the best ingredients that are home-grown in Scotland. You can choose from fine-dining to rustic bites from the list here but we will recommend that you do your own research for more food options.

What to do in Speyside after the whisky festival is over

Well, visitors from Singapore and Asia in general are not going to travel all the way to Speyside and stay for just that few days, aren’t we? There are more to explore in Speyside besides first-class whiskies. For the nature lovers, there are beautiful beaches, hiking, kayaking down the River Spey and mountain biking on famous trails. For the shopaholics, Speyside has a great shopping culture that involves exploring beautiful towns and quaint little villages for the best buys in Scotland.

How to travel to Speyside

The easiest way for Singaporeans and people living in Asia is to fly to either Glasgow Airport or Edinburgh Airport before making your way to Speyside. Access to Speyside can be by air – flying to Inverness Airport or Aberdeen International Airport. Once there, you can easily navigate by taxi, bus or private hire car as mentioned above.

If you are keen to take in the beauty of the countryside, the best way to travel to Speyside is to by rail, bus or car from Edinburgh or Glasgow. You can check out ScotRail, Scotland’s National Railway, for the time table and prices. Citylink bus service provides safe passage from Edinburgh or Glasgow to Inverness and Aberdeen as well. If you prefer to travel in style, rent a car from Edinburgh or Glasgow and drive down to Speyside in your own leisure.

We hope that this article have given you enough information to start planning your trip to Scotland! The research has certainly pip our curiosity to head down to Scotland next May! Happy planning!

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