In celebration of the first anniversary of its opening, Kingsbarns Distillery is delighted to launch the Kingsbarns Distillery Founders’ Club. Members of the new Founders’ Club will be the very first to own a bottle of Kingsbarns Single Malt.
The Kingsbarns Distillery in Fife officially opened on 30th November 2014, St Andrew’s Day, with the first spirit running through the stills in January 2015. The launch of the Kingsbarns Distillery Founders’ Club is an exciting chance for whisky enthusiasts to enjoy being a part of the journey for this new distillery.
The Kingsbarns Distillery Founders’ Club is open to just 3000 members worldwide. Initially, a welcome pack will be sent to all members, consisting of a 20cl bottle of Kingsbarns Distillery New Make Spirit, a Founders’ Club Glencairn glass, a membership badge and welcome letter.
The first ever bottles of Kingsbarns Single Malt will be bottled exclusively for members of the Kingsbarns Distillery Founders’ Club. It is expected that some of the first casks ever filled will be selected for this first bottling around mid 2018. Members will receive a bottle of this exclusive Kingsbarns Founders’ Club Reserve, enabling them to become one of the very first to taste Kingsbarns Single Malt. Following that, each year for 4 subsequent years, members will receive a further Founders’ Club Reserve bottle, allowing members to enjoy the progression of the single malt.
Kingsbarns Distillery Founders’ Club memberships cost £500 plus carriage and are available at the distillery, online at http://www.kingsbarnsdistillery.com and also from Kingsbarns Founders’ Club Membership Subscription – Master of Malt
The new single malt distillery under construction at Kingsbarns in Fife has passed another milestone in its development with the completion of the roof of the re-furbished listed building.
Director William Wemyss visited the site last week to put one of the last of the roof tiles into place. Joining him were the Distillery Founder and newly appointed Visitor Centre Manager, Douglas Clement; new Distillery Manager, Peter Holroyd; and Director of the site contractor Colorado, Ian Bownes. “Topping out” is a tradition in the building industry when a building is being completed with its roof or top. In this instance, the Wemyss party also marked the occasion with a dram from the Wemyss Malts whisky range.
The Wemyss family bought the Kingsbarns Distillery project in January 2013 and construction at the site began at Easter that year. Approximately 6 miles from St. Andrews, the distillery and its visitor centre are being built close to the world famous Kingsbarns championship golf course on the Cambo Estate. The site of the actual distillery is the historic and charming East Newhall Farm steading.
The new Kingsbarns Single Malt Scotch whisky will be classified in the Lowlands region and available after a minimum of three years maturation in oak casks. Fife grown malted barley has been secured to make the spirit and it will be matured predominantly in ex-Bourbon casks.
William Wemyss, commented on behalf of the family: “It’s been a very exciting year watching the site re-development progress. We’ve still got a lot to do to fulfil our dream of distilling at Fife’s newest single malt distillery, however we expect to be underway in November and are planning that the visitor centre and cafe will be open to the public from December this year. Key members of our new team are now in place and we welcome Peter Holroyd as Distillery Manager and the Distillery Founder Douglas Clement as Visitor Centre Manager. ”
Darnley’s View gin has a close history with the company Wemyss Malts. A gin close with whisky? Apparently in 1565, Mary Queen of Scots first spies her future husband, Lord Darnley through the courtyard window of Wemyss Castle, the historic family seat of renowned vintners and spirits merchants, the Wemyss family. So to celebrate this occasion, Darnley’s View gin was created.
A small batched gin with only 6 botanicals – elderflower, juniper, lemon peel, coriander seed, angelica root and orris root, it’s traditionally distilled within a pot still of a neutral grain spirit that has been distilled four times. Classed as a London Dry Gin, purified water reduces the gin to a strength of 40%.
So how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes on the two expressions available –
Darnley’s View – 40%
A great mix of the 6 botanicals on the nose, with the lemon peel and coriander being at the front while the others swirl at the back. On the palate, a fresh juniper hit mellows rather quickly into a lemon zest hit and then slowly involves a smooth finish of orris root. The use of angelica root leaves a dryness on the tongue.
Darnley’s View Spiced – 42.7%
A soft mix of cinnamon and nutmeg on the nose, with the ginger and cloves making an appearance soon after. Very smooth on the palate with a growing spice of coriander and nutmeg followed by the cumin leaving a dry finish. Lingers well.
Both Darnley’s View expressions are great on their own, but the use in cocktails maybe?
The Lord Darnley
50 ml Darnley’s View
dash Elderflower Cordial
dash Fevertree Tonic Water
dash Angostura Bitters
In a mixing glass filled with cubed ice, add the Elderflower, Tonic, Limoncello and Bitters coating the ice. Stir and drain off any excess liquid. Add the Gin and stir until well chilled and suitably diluted. Double strain into glass straight up. Garnish with a Maraschino cherry
Darnley’s View is no stranger to awards either, winning the gold medal in the premium gin category in the Spirit Business Magazine’s Gin Masters 2011 as well as winning the Master Award at the Travel Masters 2010 series.
You can purchase a bottle of either of the Darnley’s View gin’s here.
Wemyss Malts were on of the first ranges on whisky I covered when I started Drinks Enthusiast back in 2011. Since then, Wemyss Malts range of expressions have grown, culminating in some hand-crafted beauties! Before I re-visit though, lets take a look at Wemyss;
Wemyss Malts, pronounced ‘Weems’, are a boutique whisky company with connections to the Wemyss family who hailed from Fife, Scotland. Wemyss itself comes from the Gaelic word for caves which stems from the rocky outcrop on the Firth of Forth on which the family home of Wemyss Castle sits.
The Wemyss Land was used at the turn of the 19th century where a gentleman named John Haig built his first distillery on the island. It is said that John’s passion for the industry made him realise the confusion that consumers had with the ever-increasing terminology of the whisky industry. With this, he aimed to create his whiskies and not only make them more accessible, but also understandable.
Wemyss Malts use a combination of the taste and aromas of each individual whisky to identify each bottling, rather than the traditional distillery way, resulting in the consumer understanding the style being purchased more easily.
But what about the whisky?
Wemyss Malts have two sub-categories – Blended Malts and Single Casks. With the blended, the Wemyss family hand select each individual cask, under the expert eye of Charlie Maclean, chair of the Wemyss Nosing Panel for both the Single Casks and Blended Malts.
Up to sixteen different single malt whiskies are blended together before introducing the “signature” malts to create the three distinct taste profiles.
Question is, does this really de-mystify the whisky labelling? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
The Hive 8yr – 40%
The Hive range uses a signature malt is from Speyside.
A sweet nose with a mix of wood and leather aromas, becoming more vibrant upon the palate. Smooth, plenty of light honey flavours to create a lingering finish.
The Hive 12yr – 40%
On the nose, the sweet scent of honey is dominant which carries nicely onto the palate. A slight buttery scent is also present. The fresh flavour of the honey spread along the palate and gives a bit of a spice kick near the end. A snip of vanilla is their but the honey is the main characteristic.
Spice King 8yr – 40%
Spice King range uses a signature malt is from the Highlands.
A fresh nose of spice become a little dry as it develops, although retains its smoothness. A slight sweetness on the palate, with dry pepper and spice evident creating a lingering warm finish.
Spice King 12yr – 40%
A bold, rich nose of sherry mixing with lemon zest but a slight harsh entrance on the palate. Bitter lemon and ginger flavours linger with spice notes and leads into an oak finish which leaves the mouth a little dry.
Peat Chimney 8yr– 40%
Bottled October 2010. The Peat Chimney range uses a signature malt is from Islay.
Light peat aromas on the nose, with a balance of heather and honey developing. Light on the palate too, with honey evident, moving to a lingering peat finish with some bold whispers.
Peat Chimney 8yr– 40%
A tweaked version of the above, sampled on 18th May 2014.
Very light, honey peated notes on the nose, with a little whisp of heather and heat. Incredibly sharp peat flavours on the palate, creating a spice heat that sticks to the roof of your mouth. Hard peat flavours on the finish, with a little smokey wood and honey elements thrown in. Lingering.
Peat Chimney 12yr – 40%
Soft peat notes on the nose with an oily scent soon after with a hint of sea salt. Heavy flavours of peat do mellow out as it comes to a finish, with a ‘peat chimney’ smoke on the after-taste.
Wemyss Malts are also the producers of premium blended whisky Lord Elcho. David, Lord Elcho, eldest son of the 5th Earl of Wemyss, was one of the most celebrated supporters of Bonnie Prince Charlie during the ill-fated Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. Flirting between England and France originally, he settled in Italy and met Charles Edward Stewart, playing a significant role in the uprising, eventually being appointed colonel of the Prince’s lifeguards. After being defeated at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, he was punished with the stripping of his land and titles and forced into exile.
Lord Elcho whisky is a nod to his life, created to honour the “refined masculine spirit of its namesake”.
Lord Elcho 15yr – 40%
Bottled August 2012. Crafted from a selection of malt and grain whiskies. Light, with lingering honey notes finishing with a slight sweetness on the nose. A well-rounded palate of honey and toasted wood, with the sweetness and warmth resulting in a lingering finish.
Lord Elcho NAS – 40%
Light cereal notes on the nose, with hints of honey and syrup coming through. Plenty of honey on the palate, with a light enjoyment of cocoa, fudge and creamy dry spice with cinnamon, ginger and cardoman. Long and warming.
Some absolute crackers to enjoy in your favourite whisky glass. But Wemyss Malts are versatile, with leading bartender Jason Scott of Bramble, Edinburgh creating gems such as –
Hive and Seek
40 ml Wemyss Hive Whisky 12yr
20 ml fresh lemon juice
2 bar spoons (10ml) saffron honey or orange blossom honey
Dash pasteurised egg white
Pour all ingredients into shaker and dry shake (no ice). Fill with ice and shake rapidly. Double strain.
50 ml Peat Chimney Whisky 12yr
14 mint leaves
2 bar spoons Demerara sugar
Spritz of Fernet Branca
Firstly spray the inside of cup with Fernet Branca. Separately, with all ingredients and cubed ice in a mixing glass, stir till ice cold and the flavours and aromas of the mint have infused into the liquid. Single strain over cracked ice in cup.
Brilliant! A superb range across the board, with personal favourites being The Hive and Peat Chimney. Although I’m yet to experience their Single Casks, I can only imagine that I will be impressed. Wemyss are coming out with a fantastic portfolio, diving into their heritage and creating blended whiskies, premium offerings, single casks and even two expressions of gin. You may not see this everywhere when it comes to bars and restaurants, but I can guarantee, if you know a venue with a good whisky selection, expect to see some Wemyss. It would be VERY rude not too. If not, pick one up for your drinks cabinet.