By Richard Thomas
The midsummer batch of single cask single malts from Wemyss Malts has been out for several weeks now. My look at some of the offerings in this new collection was delayed by a month, because I was in the U.S. rather than Europe. That delay might have meant the whiskies in question were already sold out, as is (happily for Wemyss Malts) sometimes the case. Happily for the consumer, however, the item I tackle here, Summer Breeze, is still in stock as I write this.
This is a single cask bottling from Speyside’s Linkwood, one of the older distilleries in Scotland and dating back to 1821. These days it is owned by Diageo, and is perhaps best known for a little anecdote that a distillery manager named Roderick Mackenzie barred the removal of even the cobwebs from the place, just in case it might effect the whisky. Whether that is hidebound or timid I don’t know, but it makes for a good story. Linkwood’s whisky is rarely released under its own label, and independent bottlings like Summer Breeze are usually how one becomes acquainted with the distillery.
Summer Breeze was distilled in 1995 at Linkwood, and bottled in 2015, making it a round 20 year old. The hogshead yielded 374 bottles, which were filled at 45% ABV.
Aged in a hogshead, the straw-like coloring of the whisky is exactly what one would expect, even after two decades.
I sampled Summer Breeze from the rambling garden of my new place in Sintra, and it’s very breezy on these summer evenings. I was therefore pleased to see the aroma in the glass wasn’t that much different from the scents around me. The glass was full of pears, cookie spices, citrus blossoms and lavender. Subtract the pears and what was in the glass was exactly like what was on the breeze in my garden just a few evenings ago.
The flavor is a wholly different experience, being predominately dry rather than floral. Syrupy honey and toffee, spiced with hot ginger. The finish starts on an especially candied toffee note, which gives way to dryness, with mild warmth all the way.
Wemyss Summer Breeze Single Cask is listed at £90.