By Richard Thomas
Although the crafty blender-bottlers at Wemyss Malts have put out a couple of blended scotch expressions during the last couple of years, these were under the Lord Elcho band. Under their own direct name, Wemyss has only released vatted malts like The Hive or The Peat Chimney.
That reflects the company name. They are Wemyss Malts after all, and so under that designation they do single malts and vatted malts, not blends. Not until now that is.
Keeping that in mind, when I heard about Wemyss Velvet Fig my expectations picked up a notch. And then I discovered that the whisky isn’t what I thought it was, thanks to the label. It says “Blended Scotch Whisky,” but it is, in fact, a vatted/blended malt whisky, just like the other previous releases Wemyss has made under it’s own name.
So don’t be confused by the label’s text. This is 100% Scottish malt whisky, with not a drop of grain in it.
Velvet Fig is a blend of ex-sherry cask whisky, unfiltered and bottled at 46% abv in a run of 6,000 bottles. That it is all sherry cask-aged shows in its coloring, a delightful light, brushed copper.
The nose is musty and woody, mingling with the thick, smooth scent of dark, dried fruits. Imagine opening an old wooden chest full of dried figs in a damp, candlelit room and you get the idea. It’s an interesting scent and worth coming back to again and again.
The palate is once again smooth and weighty, and carries complex melange of flavors. The liquid has a whiff of smoke, a hint of old, hoary leather, a dash of nutmeg and a dash of ginger, and a spoonful of dried dates and figs. Yummy stuff to be sure. The finish is a warm, lingering one with a steady wind down.
Wemyss Velvet Fig is reportedly priced at £40, and at that price Scotch fans had better go get one. It’s seriously good stuff at a very, very reasonable cost.