Wemyss Malts Family Collection - Vanilla Burst & Treacle Chest

Tasting notes Wemyss Malts Family Collection - Vanilla Burst & Treacle Chest

Wemyss Malts is familiar name when it comes to excellent single casks and blended malts. The owners of the Kingsbarns Distillery has been releasing annually some good to superb blended malts. Their newest feat - The Wemyss Family Collection - will focus on one specific influence that impacts a whisky. This can be a regional aspect or the use of different casks.

The first two releases focus on the differences between Speyside and Highlands whiskies and between bourbon and sherry casks. Vanilla Burst is a vatting of 15 first fill ex-bourbon casks - American oak - from two different Speyside distilleries. Treacle Chest consists of 14 first fill ex-sherry casks, from two different Highlands distilleries. Wemyss didn't specify the species of oak nor the style of sherry from the vatting.  The use of sherry casks does mean automatically the use of European oak. Most sherry casks are now made from American oak, due to being less porous and minimising the risk of leaks.

Let us put the first two releases of this educational series to the test.

Identity Card Vanilla Burst

Wemyss Malts Family Collection Vanilla Burst
  • Wemyss Malts Family Collection
  • 15 first fill ex-bourbon casks from 2 different Speyside distilleries
  • 4.800 bottles
  • Alcohol: 46% ABV
  • Non-chill filtered and natural colour

Tasting notes

Colour: Looks like a sweet white wine. Think Bonnezeaux or Sauternes. The texture seems very light.

Nose: The whisky lives up to its name. Vanilla and custard. Sweet apples, lychees and canned fruit. Mostly pears. Sweet maize and popcorn. Fairly young malts from first fill bourbon casks. A musky perfume scent with lots of wood influence.
With water: The whisky is fresher on the nose. Citrus wood. GFT shaving soap from Geo F. Trumper? Bergamot citrus and honeysuckle.

Taste: Vanilla cream and custard. Sweet red apple and oranges. Citrus lemonade with cinnamon and lemon rind. A sprig of mint, a touch of pepper and a slice of ginger.
Water does not bring a lot of change. Vanilla, lemon rind and honeysuckle.

Finish: Sweet honey and nutty flavours lingering on the tongue.

Identity Card Treacle Chest

Wemyss Malts Family Collection Treacle Chest
  • Wemyss Malts Family Collection
  • 14 first fill ex-sherry casks from 2 different Highlands distilleries
  • 6.300 bottles
  • Alcohol: 46% ABV
  • Non-chill filtered and natural colour

Tasting notes

Colour: Darker than its bourbon brother Vanilla Burst. Polished copper. A visible thicker texture too.

Nose: Lots of sweets and spices on the nose. Boiled sweets - Happy Cola Candy - and cinnamon syrup. Caramel, honey, golden syrup, candy syrup. A bag of dried fruits with some raisins, figs and dates. Everything you need for a Christmas pudding. Juicy mango and chocolate rice Krispies. Puffed rice, brown sugar and dark sweet malt. I'm even getting a note of pasta.
With water, it boils down to a sour-sweet mango chutney with tarragon.

Taste: Sweet and dark. Christmas pudding and dark chocolate. Fat cream. Sweet caramelized almonds.
With water, there's a touch of liquorice and aniseed. A fig jam with lemon balm.

Finish: Figs and raisins soaked in oloroso sherry.

Wemyss Malts Family Collection - Vanilla Burst & Treacle Chest

Both are fairly decent whiskies. But honesty abides me to add that it's not the best Wemyss Malts has to offer. I tend to agree with some peoples view that Velvet Fig and the Batch Strength version of Spice King scored higher. But the whiskies are a fun and educational way to explore two different flavour profiles with signature bourbon and sherry flavours. For me, Vanilla Burst was the better of the two due to a nice balance between fresh citrus and sweet vanilla notes.

Sample Disclosure: Samples of the Wemyss Malts Family Collection were provided by Wemyss Malts. Opinions expressed in this review remain of course my own.