This whisky, like its predecessor, has a truly brilliant name, but it is effectively a misnomer, we’re sorry to say. The nose on this dram is beautiful, but it presents with much more peat than chimney. It has all of the delicacy of peat and none of the lack of delicacy (not to mention lack of subtlety) characteristic of a chimney. Really, there’s no clear presence of chimney at all: There is absolutely no hint of mortar, bricks, soot, or of dead birds and squirrels decomposing in the flue. And that goes for the mouth, too. It’s lovelily* light with a watery mouthfeel that is simply peaterrific. We also got faint, wistful floral flavors on the mouth, framed by smoke and vague yearning: think of a gardenia in Billie Holiday’s hair in the bar after a long recording session with Lester Young. It’s so light on the tongue, though, we wondered if perhaps some lipids and fatty esters might have been removed, skimmed from the top and set aside as veritable whisky curds. We could see the peat in this dram curdling some fatty esters. Skim that stuff off, and you have the basis for a killer custard. Or a funky bath soap. Yeah, this dram is so clean and light, it took us there, which is extraordinary when you consider how peaty it is at the same time. That’s a pretty damn good trick. The finish is clean, too, and contemplating it, we realized that the name is not a misnomer after all: the chimney is the spotless stainless steel ventilation pipe on a brand new industrial-sized smoker custom built for a champion barbecue master, but hijacked on the delivery route by a rogue Scotsman hellbent on crafting the most original tasting pork butt of all time. We claim dibs on the first taste once it’s ready.
* Yes, that’s a word: slightly non-standard, the adverbial form of “lovely”.
–On the scale of unexpected lightness–
The Wemyss Peat Chimney 12 Years Old is the lilt in Billie Holiday’s voice as she sings the blues or the tone Lester Young achieves with his saxophone–Take your pick. If neither does it for you, I can’t help you. And I doubt anyone could.
–Our thanks to Karen Stewart and The Wemyss Malts for the sample!