William Wemyss walked into the RWC store on Friday all ready to tell me about his new house blends. We met in the tasting bar and began to discuss his first selection, The Spice King. "This one is made with primarily..." "Talisker," I interupted, finishing his sentence for him. "Have you had these before?" he asked and I smiled. We had the Wemyss selections about two years ago when they were with another distributor, but eventually stopped selling them once that relationship was terminated. Now that they're back with new representation and even better pricing than before, we're more than happy to put them back on the shelf.
All three Wemyss expressions are tasty examples of their particular styles, and all are made with 100% single malt of at least 8 years of age. The Spice King, made with a high amount of Talisker, is lightly smoked with lovely flavors of vanilla and rich fruit. The Smooth Gentleman, made with a good dose of Aultmore, is the Speyside nod, rich sherry, raisined fruits, smooth textures just like the name states. The Peat Chimney is the Caol Ila-dominated whisky and is exactly what you would expect - lots of smoke, but also enough richness to balance it out. It's not the lean and mean Laphroaig style, but more like sherry-aged Caol Ila.
All three will retail for $39.99 which makes them very competitive. These are far more interesting than anything else we offer in the $40-ish and under range, besides maybe Ardbeg 10, but that's a very specific flavor. These are easy drinking and very enjoyable. I'm delighted to have them back. They also have a lovely gin made with Elderflower called Darnley's View, by the way, that should reappear at the same time.
Also in stock for the moment is the new release from Compass Box - the Great King Street blend! Another fantastic whisky for $39.99 but the initial release was small and we've already sold over half of what we got. In time, however, there should be no problem keeping this in stock. I think it will slowly win people over and become a staple of every serious whisky drinker's home bar, namely because it's the ultimate rocks and soda bottle.
The Great King St. actually tastes better in a cocktail than it does as an everyday sipper and I think that's an important thing for people to know. I've heard from a few customers who were excited over the fact that the Malt Advocate rated a $40 whisky 91 points, thinking that it was just as good as the $90 whiskies they give 91 points to. However, I'm thinking this needs to be put into perspective. When a $10 wine from Spain gets 91 points in the Wine Spectator, they're not telling us it's just as good as the 91 point $200 Bordeaux wine - they're saying that it's good compared to its other peers. In the case of the Great King St, I can't think of another blended whisky that's nearly as delicious. Just remember how it's supposed to be drunk because I have the feeling someone's going to read that review, take a bottle home, pour a wee dram, and say, "Oh....that's it?" However, that isn't it - you just need to add a few ice cubes! I'm happy it's so inexpensive because when I'm adding rocks and soda, I tend to pour big!
The Laphroaig Triple Wood also quietly debuted yesterday and again, as with the Cairdeas, I was very impressed with the effort from this distillery. This is the same formula as the Quarter Cask, but with an additional maturation in European Oak. Ex-bourbon + QC + Euro Oak = Triple Wood. Nice oaky, woody flavors mingle with subtle sweetness and a healthy dose of peaty punch. I could drink this all day (and all night, too). Again, Laphroaig has been great about keeping their prices down - especially when their limited-edition, collectible malts could be demanding far more.
Kudos to all of these malts. Thank you for keeping us in good spirits without breaking our banks.
Your bargain hunting whisky fans.