By Richard Thomas
The summer 2014 release of Wemyss single cask single malts is out, and when my consignment of samples arrived on a Wednesday, what to do next was obvious: discard my existing Whisk(e)y Wednesday plans, and do one of the single casks instead.
But which one? That decision was ultimately just as simple. Looking at what was in the batch, I saw a Bowmore. The Queen of England christened the aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth with a bottle of Bowmore not three weeks ago, and as a follower of things naval and scotch, that made it a natural choice.
Loch Indaal is an Islay sea loch, or inlet, so this single cask has been named after a bit of coastal fishing. One of the sidenotes about the inlet is that both Bowmore and another village, Port Wemyss, are on its shores. Loch Indaal Catch is a Bowmore distilled in 1982, making it a 32 year old. It came from a hogshead and yielded a 165-bottle run, done at the customary 46% abv.
This whisky got something out of that three-decades long stint in the hogshead, because it has a lustery, solid gold coloring. The nose something like being in a village spice shop during the winter. The wood-burning stove and ash bucket put a smoky, ashy current in the air, but the main current is cedar, sandalwood, cinnamon, pepper and cloves. It’s a leathery, hoary thing, but well-seasoned too.
The flavor starts with a dry, toasty oak and cedarwood note, then opens into rich pipe tobacco with undercurrents of creosote and spices. The finish starts with a strong tobacco aftertaste, unwinding into a spicy afterglow.
While not as smoky or sea-sprayed as some Islay fans might desire (especially the sea spray part, what with a name like “Loch Indaal Catch”), this Wemyss single cask is a lovely sipper, drawing on a broad palate.
Wemyss Loch Indaal Catch is the most expensive Wemyss single cask release to date, priced at £700.