The postman was very kind to us last week; we received a couple of whisky packages and one of them contained some fabulous blended whisky from Wemyss. Over the next couple of weeks we’ll review each of them in turn, but last night I started with what I expect will be my favourite – Peat Chimney. This whisky is a blend of 16 malt whiskies with the focus firmly on a 12 year old Islay. In days gone by we’d know it as a vatted malt but now it is simply a blended malt. Enough of the technicalities though – I’m a big fan of smoke and peat so this whisky was the obvious place to start my Wemyss tasting adventure.
Bronze in colour, the first nosing was promising – it offered briny sea spray, was slightly tarry and reminiscent of scallops and seafood on a BBQ. A few slightly carbolic notes then came through – reminding me of one particular Islay based distillery. Unsurprisingly it is very Islay – inhaling deeply and closing my eyes took me back to our own BBQ on the beach at Port Ellen during the Feis Ile. The whisky evokes some great memories and Islay in the sun is one of the best.
The Peat Chimney is initially gentle on the palate before the smoke rises and gradually takes over bring with it some freshly ground black pepper and hints of star anise. Later notes of orange and seafood emerge amongst the charred wood and warm peat. The finish is a slow fade – layers of ash and charcoal dissipate leaving the mouth feeling refreshed and slightly spicy. The peat hint is gentle compared to some Islay malts but it is definitely there and the whisky delivers everything you would expect from it – it really does encapsulate a sunny day on Islay in a glass.
This blend is a great introduction to Islay and to peaty whisky in general; but it’s also one to just sit down and chill out with. It’s not overly complex but gives you everything you need – its blended extremely well, it is very moreish, and would be great to share with friends outdoors this summer!