Whisky Review – Wemyss “Lemon Buttered Kippers” Bunnahabhain 1997 @wemyssmalts

Wemyss “Lemon Buttered Kippers” Bunnahabhain 1997 

46% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

210 bottles(!)

£70 available from Nickolls and Perks


On first sniff the kippers are most definitely there. Very maritime, lots of salty sea air, fresh fish markets and, yes, a touch of citrus. Will let it sit for a bit. More peat now, quite medicinal peat, with TCP and some hospital antiseptic. Salted fish is very much in there, seaside aromas, shellfish stands and the lemon is coming through now. Lemon juice squirted on fresh prawns. VERY Islay!


Sweet and tangy lemon arrival, lots of sugars, and a touch of smokey ash. The mouthfeel is very thick and oily. Very subtle creamy vanilla, some pepper bite, a little ginger. Development goes into very creamy, buttery areas, lots of smooth texture, buttered toast. Very sippable. There’s an element of fish, the burnt skin from a mackerel having been barbecued. Very fresh zingy nature to the palate, it’s quite lovely, not a big peat bruiser, but a gentle creamy, subtly smokey, citrus dram. 


Medium in length, the ginger and cracked pepper comes back, along with a mouthful of menthol cigarette smoke. Lemons with the black pepper then come about with a little fresh fishiness. 

Adding water. 

I actually don’t want to add water, I think it’s right on the cusp. But I’ll go with a very small drop. The nose is a little smokier now, it has lost some of its seaside subtleties though, with the citrus very muted now. The palate is still very flavoursome, but has become a little one sided with the lemon juices, now sweeter, taking over the rest. The finish is spicier and lemon intense. Water did reduce the complexity of this dram. Do not water. 


It feels a little that I have been led by the name of this whisky, but in fairness it’s bloody well named! It’s a beautiful example of Islay freshness, and is truly delicious to sip, and very easy at that sipping it is as well. Beautiful stuff. 

Many thanks to Wemyss for the review sample