“Peat Chimney” 12 y.o. (Wemyss Malts)
A whisky from the Secret Spirits Advent Calendar First Edition.
Alright. Now we’re wading into familiar waters.
Peatheads, rejoice! This Wemyss blended malt is an Islay-phile’s wet dream. Any of the chosen few out there that have made the pilgrimage to Scotland’s Hebridean peat mecca will immediately be swept back to the island’s quaint and rustic charm. Especially those chilly early mornings with the smell of chimney smoke and seabreeze in the air. This is bottled Islay. For those that may never make the journey…sit back with a couple of youtube clips and a glass of this “Peat Chimney” in hand and you’ll at least have something of the virtual experience.
Being a blended malt means that this whisky is a vatting of single malts (with no grains thrown into the mix!) from more than one distillery. Since I’m going on nothing more than the rather austere and sparse (and classy, I might add!) label, I honestly couldn’t even tell you if all of the component malts are in fact Islay whiskies. I’ll work on the assumption that this is indeed the case – simply based on the flavours I’m getting from this one.
It’s anyone’s guess, however, as to which distilleries are represented in this concoction. We do know that getting Ardbeg and Lagavulin stocks for blending or independent bottling purposes is next to impossible these days in our superheated global whisky market. This is likely also the case with Kilchoman and Bruichladdich. The most likely candidates therefore would be Caol Ila, Laphroaig, Bowmore and Bunnahabhain. The profile here doesn’t even remotely hint at this latter distillery either. So…a little bit of guesswork is as far as I’m willing to go with this one. Either way…it’s a treat of a dram.
It’s also nice to see the calendar bringing some peat and heat into the mix. An absolute necessity for these cold winter climes.
Nose: Immediately reminiscent of a Port Charlotte, sans that butyric note Bruichladdich is famous for. Iodine. Oysters on the shell…with a squeeze. Smoke, of course. Tar and ash. Salt licorice. Gets more ashy and a bit meaty with some time. Yes…that’s a good thing. Tangy. A bit of a BBQ note. There may be some fruit here, but it’s buried at least six feet under the peat.
Palate: Woah! Very dry and ashy. Flinty too. Salt water (and maybe some of the little critters that might live in said water). Dry smoke. Peaty, earthiness. Some powdered cacao. Nuts, of some sort. Finally, a little bit of sweetness to work as a foil to the phenols.
Thoughts: Definite personal appeal here. Not quite a rawk star, but definitely a rather kickass indie band in your favorite bar. Can’t get over how DRY this is!
Bonus: My mate, Jonathan, and I are gonna blog on these drams side by side through the season. Here’s a link to his notes on the same whisky at SingleMalting.com.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt