By Richard Thomas
This summer 2014 release of Wemyss single casks stood out from past batches because of two of its bottlings. One was the Loch Indaal Catch, a Bowmore single cask that is Wemyss’s priciest release to date. Second was the Lemon Cheesecake release, an Invergordon that was Wemyss’s first (and to date only) single grain release.
Although some scotch snobs blindly disdain the revival of the single grain category, I look at it as one of the fruits of the ongoing world whiskey boom. The spirit of innovation and willingness to challenge bad assumpttions behind the resurrection of single grains is exciting, and some of the Irish and Scottish single grains to come out in recent years have been truly delightful. It is with that in mind that I sampled this Invergordon single grain, distilled in 1988 (making it a grown-up 26 year old whisky).
In keeping with the Wemyss single cask practice, Lemon Cheesecake was bottled at 46%. The cask yielded 220 bottles.
In the glass, Lemon Cheesecake has a gold-tinged-with-copper appearance. That might suggest I mean light amber, but I don’t. Instead, it looks like a very rich, but still yellow, beer.
A name like “Lemon Cheesecake” suggests a creamy, citrusy after-dinner kind of Scotch, and I think this one hits that mark squarely. The nose packs a strong current of sweet lemon, spiced with vanilla. A note of toffee lies underneath, along with a distinct piney note that provides a bit of a kick without being overtly harsh or spicy.
The flavor brings on more lemon, but now more in balance with the toffee and vanilla. The pine kick is still there, granting a certain pungency without becoming spicy. The finish is very much in the lemon ginger vein, unfolding into a stretch of moderate warmth.
The Lemon Cheesecake Wemyss single grain is appearing with online retailers for approximately €80/£80 ($105 if you get it from a cheaper European retailer instead of from the more expensive British).