The new make spirits were then matured initially in refill bourbon casks. According to Wemyss Brand Ambassador Steven Shand, this part of the maturation was to “…give an even maturation that focused more or mellowing the spirit and removing impurities rather than adding intense wood lead tannins, the likes of which you usually see in 1st and 2nd fill casks”.
Ages of whiskies in this initial maturation range between 5 and 10 years in order to “… layer flavours that are unveiled at lengths of time in cask maturation”. Steven uses the example of esters that give ‘fruity’ notes in young whisky that slowly fade over time in a cask to give way to the tannins, vanillins and lactones from the wood.
After this initial maturation, the single malts are ‘married’ together into ex-madeira wine casks for around 9 months to ‘finish’. This stage of the maturation aims to impart yet more sweet fruity notes from the madeira cask.
So… what does it taste like?
The nose isn’t massive but has a very floral quality at first. This gives way to peaches, apricots and squeezed orange peel with a buttery undertone of condensed milk from a tube.
Very crisp mouthfeel – not at all oily and slightly astringent at first. Oranges, peaches and stonefruit, mixed peel which moves over to allow the candied fruit and barley sugar to move into position. Absolutely no peat here at all – it’s all about the esters!
The finish builds to a clean, spicy oak hit with not as much fruit as I expected but more of a baking fruit-bun quality. Nice vanilla overtones as it fades out into caramalised posterity.
Overall, a very nice, clean, whisky with some American oak ‘cheek sucking’ astringency – but the fruit on the palate sweetens the deal considerably. For those that love their whisky on the ‘lighter’ side (not oily or peaty), but still heaps of flavour – this is for you!
Nectar Grove is a fantastic ‘introduction to malt whisky’ for first timers as it’s sweet and fruity, and not going to scare them away with a huge alcohol hit nor peat-fire smokiness. Experienced drammers will enjoy the ‘punch’ (though not excessive) that the 46% ABV gives the many fruit flavours that come through and seem to morph at each subsequent sip.