By Richard Thomas
Many things have been changing at Wemyss Malts as of late, and one of them is part of a wider trend, namely a shift to No Age Statement (NAS) whiskies. The companies core line of vatted malts, including The Hive, The Spice King and The Peat Chimney, used to be based on 8 year old and 12 year old expressions. Starting in January, the 8 year olds will all be replaced with NAS whiskies.
I chose to start looking at the new Weymss NAS line-up with The Hive partly because I was in the mood for a sweet whisky at the time, but also because The Hive 8 Year Old was something I never got to try. With that in mind, I thought it best to begin with the one that I couldn’t compare directly to a predecessor.
Bottled at 46% abv and named for a honey theme, The Hive is a golden as a Fort Knox ingot in the glass. The nose delivers on the namesake, with an even blend of honey and meadow flowers, seasoned with light spices and with just a trace of wood running through it. So for starters, the new Hive is a fairly complex and airy sniffer.
With a sip, the flavor comes across more strongly than the airy nose might suggest. The wood note is absent, leaving a sweet dram of honey and spices. The finish leaves a malty sweet aftertaste under a warm blanket.
Oddly, a little water also brings out a little smoke, but suppresses the sweet side in the bargain. As is often the case, I think whether that is a good thing is in the eye of the beholder, but I must state that turning the sweetness down on a Scotch called “The Hive” defeats the point. I can’t recommend it.
The new Hive is a simple, nice vatted malt, and I’m putting it on my list of summertime, drink-on-the-rocks whiskies.
The Hive NAS has been listed at £36.99 ($56) in some sources, but Wemyss Malts could not confirm that this would be the price when the whisky is release. The move to NAS is part of expanded distribution in the United States, and Americans and Europeans should expect to see this on the shelves in January 2016.