By Richard Thomas
I never thought to see the word “kumquat” ever tied to whiskey, but that was before I took into account the regular need for colorful, descriptive names by those crafty folks over at Wemyss Malts.
Kumquat Cluster is drawn from a sherry butt of Glenrothes, distilled in 1993, bottled in 2014 (21 years old) and released in 2015 in a batch of 730 bottles. That large yield goes a long way to explaining why this release is still out on the market, since lately so many of these Wemyss Single Casks sell out in the blink of an eye.
Bottled at the customary 46% abv, Wemyss Kumquat Cluster has the pale yellow appearance of wet straw in the glass, and a nose that is fruity with kumquats and bananas tinged with ginger and dry, hoary old woody. The palate follows along those lines, opening with a woody twinge that gives way to creamy, fruity sweetness. The aftertaste gets really interesting, evolving from ginger spiciness to something positively ashy, all atop of a tingly, mildly warm finish.
While yummy, complex stuff, Wemyss Kumquat is also somewhat disjointed and out of balance. That latter point is what makes it merely good stuff, instead of very good stuff.
The Kumquat Cluster Single Cask is priced at £95 in the UK.