Whisky Review – Wemyss “Nuts about Pears” – Blair Athol 1991 @wemyssmalts

Wemyss “Nuts about Pears” – Blair Athol 1991

46% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

312 bottles

£116.91 available from Master of Malt

Nose. 

On first pour there is a burst of apples, ripe, fell from the tree. After just a few moments the pear richness referred to in its name comes into nose range. Pear cider or perry, fizzy and overflowing. In fact right now there isn’t a lot else, it’s dominating the nose, but that’s not a bad thing, it’s delicious. A little more time in the glass and some oak comes through, freshly shaven pencils. A little more time and we get sweet lemon oil coming through. There is an element of nuts in the very background, very subtle, almost macadamia, creamy. 

Palate. 

A nice, sweet and thick honey arrival with a touch of lemon juice. Development is slow and steady, this is where the nuts are at, lots of them, drying walnuts and roast hazelnuts. Hints of ginger and cinnamon join in with lots of pear jam and a touch of sultana. 

Finish. 

A lot of tingling spicy fruit hangs around for a medium length finish, with some apple and pear chutney and drying nuttiness. 

Adding water. 

Small drop. Not much as this is on the older side. The perry has become flat, but juicier, its more pear juice now on the nose with the nuttiness making itself more apparent, some creamy custard coming in also, it’s a peat tart with crushed walnut topping and custard. Nice. The palate has lost some of its zingier spiciness and this has been replaced with richer fruit and added intensity all round. Much creamier, very tasty indeed. A little less prominent in the finish, which gently fades the fruit away with less of the hit of spices. This benefits a great deal with a small touch of water. 

Conclusion. 

A solid older whisky, requiring a little time and a touch of water to get its better side out with some air. It’s a lovely fruity, spicy whisky which I have thoroughly enjoyed. 

Many thanks to Wemyss for the review sample

Whisky Review – Spice Tree Extravaganza (Compass Box) @CompassBox

Spice Tree Extravaganza (Compass Box)

46% ABV

Non chill filtered

No Added Colouring

12,240 bottles

£91.95 from Master of Malt

Compass Box’s Spice Tree whisky (the first batch) was deemed untraditional by the SWA and as such was banned at that time, this was due to (what I believe) using inner staves to impart extra flavour into the maturing whisky. On the tenth anniversary of this ruling we now have a new limited release, Spice Tree Extravaganza. I never did get to try the original Spice Tree but have heard many a great thing. Let’s see what this limited anniversary release has to offer. 

Compass box are offering a level of transparency that most whisky produces would rather stay silent about, the ages of the whiskies in any of their blends. I know the ages of the individual parts of this whisky, but it would be unfair of me to tell you as it may get Compass Box in deeper water with the powers that be, so please let me encourage you to go speak to them! Email hello@compassboxwhisky.com and just ask them! 

Nose. 

First pour and we have a blast of apples and powdery, floating Spice. It’s sweet shop sugar in the air, breathtaking, sweet and enticing. Within a minute everything is very complex. Lots of pungent fruit and spices. The fruits are getting boiled now, poached pear, fruitcake mix, Turkish delight, clove, lemon essence, orange oil. A little more time and we’re back in the sweet shop, lots of fruity boiled travel sweets with powdered sugar. Very very fruity and incredibly sniffable. 

Palate. 

Slow sweet and sour arrival, quite tangy initially, but soon settles. The development has an abundance of sweet jammy fruits with some bitter peel edges. Sweet Apple, pear, orange, bitter lemon and lime. There’s a tingle of clove and ginger (both hints of raw and crystallised). The mouthfeel has some thickness and a touch of oiliness. Very chewy throughout. The development goes further with some Christmas Spice infused fruit cake, glazed red berries and a touch of cranberry jam(!). 

Finish. 

Spicy stewed fruits (sultana and orange rind) remain, crystallised ginger, some sugar almond and a touch of cherry Coke.

Adding water. 

A few drops in a small amount of whisky (it’s too drinkable at 46%!). Refreshers! The fizzy sweet, that’s exactly what the nose reminds me of now, still lots of sweet shop goodies, a little more floral and light, with a touch of added oak. The palate is similar, the fruits are watered down, more of a fruit salad now, integrated, with a touch of effervescence. The mouthfeel is weakened, and there’s a little sweet vanilla oak added in, very nice but lacking in intensity of the undiluted. I prefer this dram without water.

Conclusion. 

A delicious seasonal whisky, which is well suited to our autumn climate right now. The spicy fruits just get you warmed up for the winter holiday season, and is absolutely bloody lovely and easy to sip on. Thumbs up! To the top of the Christmas list.

Many thanks to Compass Box for the review sample

Whisky Review – Benriach Peated Quarter Cask. @TheBenriach

Benriach Peated Quarter Cask

46% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

£49.95 from Master of Malt 

A little peated Benriach action now, in little casks. Quarter casks, are as suggested smaller than regular casks, so the higher ratio of wood to liquid contact means a quicker interaction and maturation taking place. This bottling is non chill filtered, colouring free and at 46% ABV as with most Benriach expressions. Always a good starting point. 

Nose. 

On first pour we have a young, barley rich and ginger ale nose. Slightly fizzy and feisty on the nasal senses. After a few short minutes in the glass the richer malty barleysugar notes take ahold, and a gentle peat whiff of smoke comes into play. Medicinal and ozone rich in nature. Quit maritime in fact for a Speyside malt. There is some light freshly squeezed lemon and a hint of damp earthiness giving this an autumnal sense. 

Palate. 

A slow, creamy and bittersweet arrival. Beautifully thick and oily mouthfeel. Biscuit and malty barley rich with a little fresh baked bread. The development goes into sweetened lemon juice, sugar syrup and a creamy buttery vanilla. Dirty earth and peaty smoke comes through later on, giving a nice organic edge to the experience. 

Finish. 

Short, earthy moss, gentle smoke, light vanilla ice cream and lemon frosting fades away. 

Adding water. 

A small splash added. A lot more smoke now, quite pungent. Not hidden away in the background any more. Full blown bonfire stuff. There are some green leaves amongst the bonfire too, piney. The palate is more complex now also, some of that green nature is coming through, lots more barleysugar, gentler sweeter fruit, some apples now, jammier. The mouthfeel is still oily and substantial. The finish is a little dirtier and less creamy. This dram most definitely benefits from a splash of water.

Conclusion. 

A nice autumnal dram. This isn’t a peat monster by any means, but as an introduction to someone who is used to highland style of malts who want to try a step into the smokey I can’t think of a better choice. 

Many thanks to Benriach for the review sample