Ah, Clynelish! One of my favourite whiskies in almost all age categories. For some reason I’ve taken to some of the Classic Malts from the start. Lagavulin, Clynelish, Caol Ila and Talisker are still favourites from day one. Let’s see if this one can live up to expectations!
The first word that pops in is Austere. It’s taken me quite a while to understand what was meant by that, but I think I’ve got it nailed. In combination to whisky, it usually goes with the minerally whiskies. This one is one of those. Basalt, iron, slate and for some reason, that also includes apples for me. I get white wine, very crisp, a little bit of white oak. After a few minutes I get some bitter and burnt caramel, and a hint of vanilla. Eventually I get the beeswax and candles I know from Clynelish. The white oak is strange, since it is a sherry butt.
The palate is thicker and sweeter than I expected. A panacotta creaminess mixed in with the Clynelish waxiness and sawdust makes for an interesting combination. Quite sharp with powdered white pepper, vanilla, whipped cream and the minerals and iron I got on the nose is back too.
The fairly long finish continues with these flavours and makes them linger for quite a while. It’s a tad dry but the very sweet white grape juice and cream is highly enjoyable. It really coats the inside of your mouth!
While I’m writing this blog post I get more enthousiastic about this dram than I initially was. The flavours are very nice and highly enjoyable. It’s very sweet but the intense minerals offset that nicely. Good stuff! Now I’m in doubt between four or five stars!
If you expect the classic more spicy and fruity Clynelish, this isn’t it. If you don’t expect anything this is a terrific whisky. Read another great review here (in Dutch)!
Clynelish 15, 08-1995, SMWS, ‘Soft light at sunset’, 57.9%, Refill sherry butt, available at the SMWS for € 89.