I haven’t seen any new bottlings recently, but until 2010 or so Diageo bottled a new ‘Friends of the Classic Malts’ bottling every year, more or less. There have been a Talisker, Lagavulin, Cragganmore and this Clynelish in the period that I was aware of them. I think there also was a Caol Ila at some point.
Anyway, these bottlings are, like the Distiller’s Editions a twist on the regular distillery’s character. In this case, a pretty sherried Clynelish, opposed to the mostly bourbon cask matured regular 14 year old, Why they changed the age to 12 is probably because all FotCM bottlings are bottled at 12 years old, regardless of the age of the regular edition.
At first light and grainy, but the sherry starts giving its secrets rather quickly. Minty, and fruity. A little dry too, but nothing too fierce.
Fruity sherry all the way. Apple, beeswax, honey. Typical Clynelish with that fresh herbacious and waxy character. Quite some influence of European oak.
The finish is a little dry again with lots of dried fruit. At the end there is a little bit of bitterness from the oak. Not really long.
A fairly decent Clynelish and at approximately € 45 in shops (if they still have it) very affordable and very good value for money. A nice change of palate after the regular edition.
Still available at The Whisky Exchange at the very low price of £ 30.49!