Glen Master must be the most corny name for a bottler they could come up with. I can imagine thinking of something like that after an evening of heavy dramming and considering it a great idea. I can also think of a way you regret a name like that in the morning.
But, at the end of the day, what counts is what’s in the bottle. And, in the case of 1972 Clynelish, you’ve obviously done something right. Not everybody gets awesome casks like this.
Clynelish is a long time favorite of mine, as are many others (Lagavulin, Springbank, Rosebank, BenRiach, Brora, Caol Ila, Bowmore, Highland Park, Arran, and so on). But what makes Clynelish unique is that they’re masters of the waxy highlands profile. There are some others (Inchgower comes to mind too), but none are as notorious for it as Clynelish.
It so happens that I love that profile. That makes me biased towards Clynelish, but in both ways. If it complies with my expectations I’m overly happy and enthusiastic about it, but if it’s not, I’m overly harsh.
Oh, and I tried this blind, but it took me about three seconds to figure out it’s Clynelish.
A wax bomb! Candles and such. Sharp but it does lighten up after a couple of minutes. There’s wood and chalk, licorice and some salmiac. There’s also slate and some minerals. Quite austere, but with wax. Something sweet comes in late, like brioche.
The licorice is on the palate too, with white pepper and some alcohol. Sharp, with chalk, vanilla and freshly cut white oak. It does get a bit sweeter after a couple of seconds and slightly spicy. Slate, minerals, apples, leafy greens. Wax, obviously.
The finish is mostly waxy again, old and spicy. Rich oak and beeswax, candle wax. Some furniture polish and lacquer.
And yes, this ticks many of the right boxes. It might be a bit on the alcoholic side on the palate, but the combination of the wax and austerity is great. This is an absolutely gorgeous dram, and it’s a text book Clynelish in all regards.
The fact that it’s ancient and therefore has been in oak for 32 years hasn’t overpowered the spirit at all. It really added to it, but the wax and minerals are typical in many younger Clynelishes, but then they’re not as refined as this.
The label states that this is a ‘single barrel bottling’. So I’d assume based on that and the flavors that this is a bourbon barrel bottling.
Clynelish 32, 1972-2005, 53.5%, Glen Master