By Richard Thomas
Looking at the title of this Single Cask release from Wemyss Malts, the first question that comes to mind is “what is a punnet?” I’m a wordsmith and I had to look that one up. A punnet is a small container for the gathering and sale of fruit and vegetables, basically the containers you get at the farmer’s market.
Next up for some might be “Single grain? What’s up with that?” Blended scotch is a mixture of grain and malt whisky. Unlike the famed single malt whisky, single grain fell out of favor, although it is now making a comeback.
Vintage Strawberry Punnet comes from Invergordon, the Highland distillery opened in 1961 by Whyte and Mackay, who still owns it. Invergordon is a big grain whisky producer, and started releasing single grain whiskies of its own in the 1990s, making it one of the few in that trade.
This particular Invergordon was distilled in 1988, making it a 26 year old. Cut to 46% abv, the ex-bourbon barrel the whisky was in yielded 242 bottles.
The color is what one should expect from an old grain whisky, namely faded yellow. It really does look less like the usual white wine and more like some yellow fabric that was left out in the sun for a few weeks.
The nose is delightfully aromatic, the sort of thing that rises out of the glass and comes to you from across the table. It smacks of hot cobbler filling made from mixed berries, with a heavy helping of strawberries, with a spoonful with vanilla extract. It’s rich, but crisp, and topped with roasted nuts and cream.
The liquid has a somewhat creamy texture, packing body without being truly heavy. Combined with the sweet flavors of berries and caramel, one might think of it as syrupy, but it’s not that thick. It’s a little spicy too, like someone added a pinch of ginger. The finish unrolls off an aftertaste of vanilla bean, leaving a long, warming glow.
Most retailers have this Wemyss Single Cask marked at €82 or €83 ($103)