Advent Day 7: “The Hive” 12 y.o. (Wemyss Malts)

Secret Spirits Advent Calendar Day 7 – December 7th107

“The Hive” 12 y.o. (Wemyss Malts)

Blended Malt

40% abv

Score:  87.5/100


A whisky from the Secret Spirits Advent Calendar First Edition. 

Nestled in behind door number 7 of the calendar is another wee bottle from Wemyss.  And another blended malt, at that.  (Remember:  ‘Blended Malt’ means no grain whisky has been added in order to dilute the flavour components).  Starting to feel that there’s some serious blending chops in the labs of the good folks of Wemyss Malts.  Someone knows what they’re doing.

Malts like this give me grief.  I can’t decide if the power of suggestion gets me picking notes out of it, or if the name it has been given is just well chosen because the flavour nuances are so prevalent that nearly anyone would pick them out.  Either way…yes…”The Hive” is an appropriate name.  The first thought you’re liable to have is ‘honey’.

There’s much more to this whisky than honey though.  At first approach it seems like a slightly softer (and more watered down) version of a whisky that could be from one of a couple of my favorite distilleries: Highland Park or Springbank.  Poor man’s version?  Not quite.  More like an homage.  This is the sort of composition that makes me question why so many ‘constructed’ whiskies on the market are hang-your-head-in-shame piss poor messes.  In short, almost the entirety of the blended whisky market.  Granted there are exceptions, but most are an exercise in homogeneity and taste bud tolerance.  Every now and again though, a blend(ed malt) like this comes along and proves that the blenders’ art is not lost.

Good whisky, this.  I’ll be buying.

Nose:  As mentioned…immediately hearkens to a slightly less malty and smoky Highland Park, or maybe even Springbank.  Raw tobacco, like being in a humidor.  Horse blanket. Leather.  Cinnamon.  Vaguely fudge-like or maybe caramel.  Some floral notes in the back.  Allspice and dry pepper.  Raw honey (or is that just the power of suggestion with a name like ‘The Hive’?)

Palate:  A very chewy malt.  Dulce de lecce over soft fruits and cream.  Simple and very tightly woven.  Some chunky fruitcake notes, but GOOD fruitcake, not that regifted brick of bitterness.  Cinnamon.  Great palate here.

Thoughts:  One of the best age-stated 12 year olds I’ve tried.  I need a full bottle of this.

Bonus:  My mate, Jonathan, and I are gonna blog on these drams side by side through the season.  Here’s a link to his notes on the same whisky at


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

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