By Richard Thomas
Every year brings a new edition of Jim Murray’s renowned Whisky Bible, and sometimes that new edition calls focus onto a distillery or whiskey-maker who has had an especially good year. While 2012 as an especially good year for Buffalo Trace, with its Antique Collection whiskeys earning first and second place honors plus an entry into the coveted “Liquid Gold” category, 2013 has been a banner year for the Single Cask line placing five entries into the “Superstar” rating classification, with scores of 94 to 97.5. These are the whiskeys described as “[giving] us all a reason to live.”
The Wemyss Malts Single Cask line is a series of limited editions, drawn from individual barrels of scotch that Wemyss ferrets out of distilleries from across Scotland. These are released in batches periodically though the year, and a typical Single Cask release might run between 300 and 400 bottles.
Of the five Wemyss Single Casks to make the 2014 Whisky Bible Superstar class, four were reviewed by The Whiskey Reviewer:
- Candied Fruit (15 Year Old from Auchentoshan)
- Heathery Smoke (30 Year Old from Caol Ila)
- Lemon Smoke (16 Year Old from Caol Ila)
- The Smokery (33 Year Old from Coal Ila)
The fifth was Mellow Mariner, which is a 20 year old from Ardmore. Clearly, this year’s Whisky Bible choices favored not just Wemyss, but smokey Caol Ila scotch.
Because they are limited editions of only modest bottling runs, these Wemyss Single Casks have a tendency to disappear rapidly. Mellow Mariner was part of a early 2013 release of four expressions that sold out in just a few weeks. Of the five, my review of online retailers showed only a few bottles of Heathery Smoke and The Smokery still on the market. It seems that by the time Wemyss Malts best Single Casks make it into Jim Murray’s book, most of the bottles have already disappeared into private hands.