Watt Whisky tasting

Yesterday I had the pleasure of getting to know Watt Whisky during an online tasting. If you’re thinking “wait, Watt?”, Watt Whisky is a label of the Campbeltown Whisky Company owned by Mark and Kate Watt. Mark has had an illustrious career in the whisky industry, previously having worked for both Duncan Taylor and Cadenhead, while Kate built up her experience with the Springbank and Glenfarclas distilleries.

After a successful crowdfunding in 2020, the first general release was brought to market in September of that same year. Currently, Watt Whisky is distributed in the UK, Belgium, Denmark, Taiwan and Japan.

Despite having heard a lot of raving about Watt Whisky’s output, it was only last night I was able to get to know their product, identity and philosophy. The tasting was led by Mark himself and organized by Meug.

Blended Malt 10 years old

This whisky was already blended when the cask was bought. It’s exact contents are unknown, but it’s said to be ex-Edrington stock, so make of that what you will. There’s a sistercask that was bottled for Belgian restaurant De Cluysenaer.

Nose: The sherry influence is immediately obvious with notes of prunes, dates, cherry, black- and raspberries and some cola. There’s the tiniest hint of sulphur. With some time, a strong mango note develops along with some grain and cereal notes, balancing out the sherry influence.

ABV: 56,5%

Distilled: 2010

Bottled: 2021

Whiskybase ID181222

Palate: A bit hot at first. I’m getting quite a dirty impression from this, with notes of dirt and mud, cherry and grape pits and cola. As with the nose, it mellows out after some time in the glass

Finish: Dark chocolate and coffee beans stored in a damp cellar. It lasts quite a while too.

A very fun, interesting whisky to start of this flight. It shows quite a bit of personality, something that we’ll encounter more in the next bottles.

84/100

Tormore 10 years old

This is only the second Tormore I’ve ever tasted, so I can’t say I’m very familiar with the distilleries output or profile. The last one was a sherry cask, this is an ex-bourbon cask with a (short) finish on an ex-Caol Ila cask.

ABV: 57,1%

Distilled: 2010

Bottled: 2021

Whiskybase ID194753

Nose: Pineapple and lemon zest, talcum powder, cauliflower and asparagus. Yes, I realize this seems crazy. No, I’ve never had cauliflower in a whisky before, but I wish I had because the combination is great.

Palate: Very green and herbal. Sage, thyme, leeks and a just a kiss of smoke in the background.

Finish: Coffee, some very dark, pure chocolate, stale walnuts along with some heather and olive oil.

When given the tasting notes above, you could wonder if you should drink this or shy away from it. This is not a typical whisky, nor a particularly easy one, but it has loads of personality and the combinations work.

87/100

A Highland Distillery 16 years old

There’s a lot of Highland distilleries. One of the great things about tastings with the bottler is that it could be narrowed down somewhat. Apparently it’s the first time Mark has every bottled something from this distillery in his career. The distillery is also known for having quite tall stills…

Nose: A very sweet start, with pancakes and maple syrup. Notes of sandalwood, papaya and furniture polish. Beautiful nose with a clear yet not overpowering sherry influence.

ABV: 57,1%

Distilled: 2005

Bottled: 2021

Whiskybase ID181220

Palate: Very jammy, prunes and cherry, balanced by walnuts, almonds and some light tannins.

Finish: Light tannins offering some grip, white pepper, walnut and bayleaf.

Not my favorite of the night, but it was very highly regarded by some others in the group. I’ve never bonded very well with “Westport”, but wouldn’t mind having another glass and give it some more time.

85/100

Glen Spey 13 years old

Another distillery I don’t have a ton of experience with, only 3 prior bottlings so far, all independents at that. It was finished for 3 months in an ex-sherry cask.

ABV: 53,6%

Distilled: 2008

Bottled: 2021

Whiskybase ID194752

Nose: This is going to be another weird one. Notes of heather, grass and also a floral touch, this one might do well in spring! There’s also white grapes and white wine, balsamic vinegar and herb butter.

Palate: White wine again, marzipan, mushroom and some freshly baked pastry, like croissants.

Finish: A short to medium long finish with hints of pastry, canned peaches and cottage cheese.

Love it or hate it, this is a special one. Out of the ordinary yet extremely interesting. This is what drives the hobby for me, finding these unassuming bottles with little to no fanfare delivering compelling experiences.

88/100

Imperial 25 years old

It doesn’t need to be said this was the highlight of the tasting. The bottle everybody was looking forward to. Mark told us that they want to focus on high quality bottles without the prices going overboard, but sometimes you get an offer you can’t refuse.

Nose: An entire fruit basket with peaches, stewed apple, pears, mango and a side of cereal. Beautifully rounded yet intense and alive.

ABV: 53,6%

Distilled: 1996

Bottled: 2021

Whiskybase ID194504

Palate: Direct continuation of the nose. Sometimes this can lead to a somewhat flat whisky, but with a nose like that, I certainly don’t object. Mandarin, green apple, lychee and pineapple join the fray.

Finish: A medium to long finish with mostly apple and pear alongside some vanilla.

Terrific bottling. Don’t think of the this fruit dominated dram of one side. If this were non-alcoholic (and a bit cheaper), I’d drink this straight from the bottle.

90/100

Caol Ila 10 years old

Large scale production doesn’t always mean a decrease in quality. Caol Ila is one of the most available whiskies on the market, and it seems every independent bottlers has a couple of casks of this stuff. No wonder, it’s hard to have a bad Caol Ila, and even if it was, it would sell because it’s an outlier.

ABV: 58,2%

Distilled: 2010

Bottled: 2021

Whiskybase ID181221

Nose: A salty, maritime nose reminding me of oysters and langoustines. There’s a grassy note in there as well. This is Caol Ila as I expect it.

Palate: Salty and grassy, spruced up by a couple of drops of lime. There’s an earthy quality to this, as if the cask was in a damp cellar for part of it’s maturation.

Finish: The damp cellar continues, with some old tobacco leaves and kept lively by lemon pie.

Good Caol Ila, but it lacked the magic of the Imperial or personality of the Tormore and Glen Spey. Perfect for any other night, but perhaps a bit redundant here.

86/100

It was a great way to get to know Watt Whisky. A passed them by the past couple of years but they have been put firmly on my radar. Thanks to Mark and Jeroen for the organization.

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