The last in a series of five Darkness! reviews. There was no particular order, so don’t assume anything from that. In this case, the fifth one is a 16 year old Clynelish. At cask strength. So far, that’s a recipe for success. Only when a sherry finish is added it might get a bit uncertain.
Not that I have not tasted any good or great Clynelishes from sherry casks, but there have also been huge misses. I seem to remember a 19 year old from Dun Bheagan from a decade ago or so that tasted more like alcoholic glue than anything else.
Anyway, let’s not make too many assumptions and just get on with it!
There is a lot of sherry on the nose. Maybe not as much as with the Benrinneses, but definitely a lot. There’s a bit of glue present too. Velpon would be the brand in the Netherlands. It’s a rather savoury kind of oloroso as far as I can tell, not so sweet and no fruit. A bit of resin after a couple of minutes.
It’s pretty sharp at first, but that’s not a surprise with Clynelish of this age. Slightly alcoholic before it gets more sweet and cherry-like. Notice the C instead of an S. There’s plums and sherry too, with oak, glue and some spices.
The finish is a bit more waxy than the palate and here the Clynelish gets to shine a bit more. Rather long with some fruity bits too. Lots and lots of sherry.
I’m not a fan. While I really enjoyed the previous four drams, on a level of finding the Macallan absolutely great, this one doesn’t do much for me. I bet there’s lots of people who’d love it but I find it rather inconsistent and confused. It’s like there’s a huge clash of flavours between the sherry that doesn’t know whether to go sweet or savoury, and the pine resin quality of the Clynelish.
Anyway, still not a bad whisky, but it’s not for everyone.
Clynelish 16yo, Oloroso finish, 54.9%, Darkness! Available from Master of Malt for £ 74.95