Ah, Clynelish. Another one of these Diageo distilleries that doesn’t release a lot under their own name (except for the great 14 year old and Distiller’s Edition). Of course, there is the occasional Select Reserve from 2014 and 2015, but those… well… those were received well on flavor, but less good on price.
Then there is the nigh infinite supply of independent Clynelish releases. Almost every bottler seems able to get their hands on some casks. Most of these are bourbon casks, but sometimes there’s a sherry one too. Today, both are from a sherry cask.
The first is a 1996, 20 year old Clynelish from Signatory. A 46% bottling drawn from Sherry Butt 11376.
It starts with the thick, syrupy scent of raisins. Rather sweet with almost PX like sherry. Plums too, but also something savory, in an aged balsamic vinegar style. Some honey and candle wax.
The palate is smooth, rich and rounded. Creamy with some raisins and a slightly bitter twist. There’s a thick fruity sweetness with oak and honey.
On the finish it gets a bit lighter, maybe even a little bit thin. It’s not very long but has a nice balance between sweet and bitter, fruit and oak. And then it goes back to the honey and candle wax.
So, a rather traditional Clynelish with lots of familiar notes. The finish wasn’t bad, but not something to write home about either, and that more or less goes for the entire whisky. Keep in mind that this bottle only cost 60 euros when it came out, so it is still tremendous value for money!
The second Clynelish is a 21 year old, also from 1996 and bottled at 46% from Sherry Butt 8793.
On the nose it starts with raisins and dates, even rum like with a lot of sweetness. Slightly spicy with almonds and slightly bitter cherry stones. A gentle whiff of oak and waxiness. The waxiness is more like the waxy scent of dates and raisins.
The palate continues down the smooth and rich track. It’s not as rich as the nose but the raisins and dates are back for sweetness, as are the cherry stones and almonds for a bitter note. It’s oaky and sweet and ever so slightly waxy. There’s a hint of barley every now and then.
The finish has a surprisingly sharp note, and the almond, cherry stone and oaky bitterness is more pronounced than it was before.
Even though this second Clynelish was a bit less typically waxy, it does have a bit more complexity and is, maybe, a bit less overpowered by the cask. It feels like there’s more to discover and the increased notes of oak and almonds, together with the speck of barley on the palate make this one a bit more likeable for me.