Since first releasing blended malt whiskies in 2005, the Wemyss Malts team have continued to develop a stable core range of products that best example some of scotch whisky’s key unique identifiers: sweet, spicy and smoky. These three characteristics are represented within the three unique expressions that comprise their core range: The Hive, Spice King and Peat Chimney. In 2017 the team released a limited edition batch strength bottling of these three core releases – knowingly entitled Batch No. 001. In 2019 we have now seen the second release of beefed up editions of the core range whiskies, and here we look at the sweet entry in the roster: The Hive – Batch Strength No. 002. The second release has upped the ABV by a further percentage point to the initial release, having been bottled at 55.5% ABV and can be bought for a limited time at an RRP of £45.95, whilst stocks of the 9000 bottles last.
Rather piercing at first and gets straight to the point courtesy of the high batch strength here, but the first note is instantly orangey, honey-y and nectary sweetness with a poached pear fruitiness. A nice little spice to it too. It reminds me of a nice lemon and ginger tea or a ginger biscuit courtesy of that extra malty background. Very comforting smells coming form this glass. It smells light and summery.
Oooh, its hot to trot. There’s a one-two combo of citrus zest and gingery spice that really cut through the stronger alco-strength. In fact it almost has a rhubarb kind of rasp and heat to it (and custard too when adding a touch of water – letting the sugary sweetness come out). The nose seemed to have a whole load of fruity flavours in there and when this whisky dances on the tongue they all come out to play again with added apricots, mangoes and peaches in this fruit bowl medley of flavours.
A sweet and sticky finish that warms the cockles of… well… everything. Long after the boozy tingle fades there’s a remnant chocolate and honey comb flavour. A boozy Crunchie!
Having enjoyed the original release of The Hive at its regular strength of 46% ABV, I was intrigued to see what this higher strength whisky would deliver, and sure enough the naming convention has held true and this does have that desired honeyed and toasted flavour, but with significantly added venom at 55.5% ABV. In fact, the extra alcohol does little to mask the signature flavours, but the real benefit here of the batch strength’s extra 10% ABV is that you can moderate the alcoholic strength yourself with a touch of water. From my old (barely legible) notes form the original The Hive, I actually preferred it with a tiny splash of water, but here you can get to regulate it even further and work towards your preference with the dram at hand – though obviously its a lot more difficult to take the water back out! Overall, a real dessert course profile of flavours displayed here. The next day the glass smelled like a honey jar. They have nailed the name for this whisky.
Dram Disclosure: This sample was received as part of a Tweet Tasting evening co-ordinated by Steve Rush @TheWhiskyWire in co-ordination with Wemyss Malts as a promotion of the second release of batch strength core range whiskies and the launch of the cask club. All notes are drafted as an honest, unbiased, independent and fair review of the whisky.