Wemyss Malts Velvet Fig is a blend consisting of five ex-sherry hogshead casks of 1994 vintage Speyside and Highland single malts and 15 ex-sherry hogshead casks of 1988 vintage unpeated Bunnahabhain single malt. All 20 casks were then blended and transferred into 14 refill hogsheads to marry for a total of 16 months.
It has been aged for 25 years, matured exclusively in sherry casks, has its natural colour and is non-chill-filtered. Velvet Fig won a gold award in International Spirits Challenge 2020 and a silver award in Scottish Whisky Awards 2020.
The nose on this blend is gorgeous. It has lots of fruity notes like red fruits, fresh figs and maraschino cherries. These notes make it feel warm and comforting. I am also finding vanilla, caramel and honey notes. Then there is something on the nose sending me in the direction of sparkling wine, something dry if that makes any sense. It is hard to explain. Tannins? Like scraping your teeth against a peach pit. It has gentle wood notes and something vaguely meaty in the far back.
Nosing it takes me outside in the summer, the warm breeze lightly caressing my face while I breathe in the calming scent of my sun-kissed surroundings. These kinds of whiskies are straight up my alley, as they bring something extra to the table, adding an extra oomph to the experience.
The palate is a bit more pronounced than the nose. Where I might be expecting a heavy sherry influence, I am instead getting cooked pears, apricots, sultanas, and it feels like it is toying with my mind, being mysterious, luring me back. It keeps pulling me back into the experience. The palate is dominated by those fruits, before elegantly changing into the ripe red fruits typical of said sherry influence, without being overpowering. Maraschino cherries drizzled in light caramel syrup and spice, right at the end.
This blend has a medium and tasty finish. It has a gentle spiciness, then plums and fruit compote. I am also getting a somewhat familiar note which I always struggle to describe, but my initial thought was “cheese”. It is like a mix of cheese and the hoppy notes you get with a beer. I am also getting pencil shavings and tobacco.
The glass is empty, and I am left a little puzzled. Velvet Fig is a really nice blend. It is fruity, gentle and warm – much like a grandpa, minus the fruity part. Unless you do have a fruity grandpa, of course. It is complex, well-blended and balanced. What more could you possibly want? I am very grateful for having a little bit left of the generous sample, and I am reluctant to admit that I wish I owned a full bottle.
ABV: 42.3 %
Wemyss Malts was founded in 2005 by brother and sister William and Isabella Wemyss. Wine blenders in Southern France inspired William to create distinctive and bold scotch, while Isabella started sourcing exquisite single malts from Scotland, as well as the best oak casks from around the world.
A huge thanks to Alistair of Spirit and Wood for kindly sending me this sample.
Tasting notes and opinions about this release are strictly my own.