When I see Clynelish from before 1996, my interest peaks. Not that that year heralded a downturn or anything, but that was a good vintage, and anything from before it is generally priceless stuff. Then, a while ago this one popped up on my radar for a sort of acceptable amount. Especially since I bottle-shared it. That it was bottled for/by my former whisky club was an added USP.
So, old Clynelish, in both ways. Distilled 37 year ago, bottled 24 years ago. And only at 43%. There were a lot of things that could go wrong, including the not too high score on Whiskybase of 83.33 points. The bottle-share sold out in minutes and while the samples haven’t been doled out yet, I decided to just get the review up.
On the nose the first thing I get is the typical Clynelish waxiness. The second thing I notice is the very typical light distillate that was so prominent in the 1980s. There’s oak and barley, and hessian too. Slightly foresty, but mostly like a creek running over stones. A bit of grass.
For a 43% whisky it’s fairly intense with some black pepper, wax coats, candles, a furniture shop, leather. There’s oak and old barley too. After a little bit of swimming the waxiness and a certain oiliness that wasn’t there before. Beeswax and honey as well as a bit of old oak and hessian.
The finish is a tad short, and the waxiness is gone quickly. Other than that, the woodiness and lightness linger. The old oak and barley remain the strongest flavors.
The nose is very reminiscent of blends distilled in the 1980s in a way that suggests the style, but the quality of this whisky is much higher than those blends (in general). The rest of it is just very solid Clynelish. I think it would have benefitted from a higher ABV, but in the 1995 world of whisky that wasn’t much of a thing.
Still, I think it is much better than the 83.33 points Whiskybase users have given it. Not surprisingly with a bottle this old and rare, the score is based on just three votes. I’m about to up that a bit.
The finish is rather typical for a 43% whisky, so especially here you notice the low ABV, but the palate and the nose keep the score up. Typical Clynelish, with its waxy notes, and that’s a very, very good thing.
Clynelish 1982-1995, 13yo, cask 131, 43%, Usquebaugh Society