Wemyss Malts The Hive, Spice King & Peat Chimney Batch Strength

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

Last month independent bottler Wemyss Malts released a new series of blended malts in their existing line-up. The Hive, Spice King & Peat Chimney all existed in an 8 and 12 year old version.  In 2015 Wemyss replaced the 8 year old version by a NAS expression but upped the ABV from 40% to 46% in return. And now Wemyss presents The Hive, Spice King & Peat Chimney Batch Strength. Every expression is limited to 6000 bottles.

The Hive uses a signature malt from Speyside, giving citrus and honeyed top notes. For Spice King, the signature malt comes from the Highlands and Islands, to produce a whisky with rich, full and spicy top notes. Peat Chimney uses an Islay signature malt to give top notes of sweet smoke, salt and peat.

The Hive Batch Strength 001

  • The Hive
  • NAS blended malt
  • Alcohol: 54.5% ABV
  • Signature malt: Fruity and sweet Speyside
  • Price: £44.95 at The Whisky Exchange
Colour: Amber, even a bit of an orange hue. Thin and fast legs. Sign of a high alcohol volume and younger malts.

Nose: Fresh lemon and orange marmalade. Sandalwood, port and red vermouth. Indian spices, some cumin, turmeric and cinnamon. Ripe fruits, marzipan biscuit with bits of orange. Orangecello (like limoncello but made with oranges). I had the feeling the whisky became less sweet and more spicy with a few drops of water.

Taste: Sweet and fruity. Breakfast cereals with granulated sugar and a touch of honey. Orange blossom water with a punch of raisins and stem ginger. Water adds a bit of spices to the fruitiness. Clove and oranges. Grapefruit sprinkled with sugar. Crusty raisin bread and a slightly sour citrus note.

Finish: Raisin bread and toasted brioche bread. Banana candy.

Spice King Batch Strength 001

  • Spice King
  • NAS blended malt
  • Alcohol: 56% ABV
  • Signature malt: Oily and West Coast Island with gentle peat
  • Price: £44.95 at The Whisky Exchange
Colour: Gold. Slow and graceful legs.

Nose: A fairly smoky start (I let it breathe for about half an hour). Black pepper.  A cigar box with fennel seed. Earthy aromas. I'm thinking mushrooms. Fruity pineapple and leather. Brown sugar and pomelo. Reminiscent of a dry fruity rum. Baked bananas splashed with rum. Melted orange-ginger candy. Burned scraps of meat out of the oven. With water I'm getting some smoked duck with oranges and cloves.

Taste: Dry and peppery. Sharp oak with a touch of caramel. Line seed oil and a bit sulfury. A mixture of peppercorns and coarse salt. The whisky gets sweeter in the mouth. Grilled meat. Aromatic tobacco and orange flavoured pop rocks. With water: sweet spices: orange, pepper, clove and carrot-ginger spread.

Finish: Dry and sweet. A burst of sweet tobacco and canned pineapple.

Peat Chimney Batch Strength 001

  • Peat Chimney
  • NAS blended malt
  • Alcohol: 57% ABV
  • Signature malt: Heavily peated Islay
  • Price: £44.95 at The Whisky Exchange
Colour: Gold in colour, thin and fast legs on the glass.

Nose: Peaty Play-Doh and rye bread. Mossy aromas mingle with tarmac. Salty with a distant hint of medicinal notes. Aromatic spa clay, a platter of seafood and tobacco. Grilled beef and fat bread. With water the whisky gets more approachable. Black coffee or espresso. Mocha ice cream. Flint and tar. An oily and fuming machine room from a fishing boat.

Taste: Definitely young Islay malts present. Peat smoke and pepper. A bit tempestuous. Barbecue charcoal and cured meat. Pierrade grill with some leftovers. Citrus and tobacco. With water I'm greeted by dry ash and smoky peppers. Coffee ground and strong black coffee; Sweet mocha and brioche. Toasted almonds.

Finish: A long lingering finish packed with mocha ice cream, dark chocolate and peat.

Wemyss launched The Hive, Spice King & Peat Chimney Batch Strength right in time for the holidays. All three of them have their merits both as a stand alone drink or a mixer for experienced bartenders. The Hive is a bit too sweet for my liking so I'd either but my money on Spice King or Peat Chimney.

I remember the 8-year-old Peat Chimney as being fairly 'Bowmore-y' (read: heathery peat, lavender, violets) but found very little of it in it now. All three of them are rather young but are decent sippers and can only be fully appreciated with a few drops of water. Don't be afraid to do so.

A sample of these The Hive, Spice King & Peat Chimney Batch Strength whiskies were provided by Wemyss Malts. Since it’s absolutely no use lying to one’s self, opinions expressed in this review are of course my own honest opinion.