Clynelish 1988-2012, 23yo, Cask ES 009/04, 50% – The First Editions

In a recent purchase I got my hands on some weird older bottles of random distilleries. Some were bottle-shared, some were reserved for tastings, but from all of them I kept a sample for proper assessment.

When, in that set of bottles, there’s an older Clynelish, my interest peaks, and this one is not any different. Clynelish from an era when there was more waxiness than there is now, at a rather respectable age sounds good to me!

Apart from that I don’t have much (if any) experience with bottlings from Edition Spirits, so the bottler was not something to go by.

Of course the cork broke.

Sniff:
Slightly waxy with a hint of metallic minerals. Apples, iron, copper, blood. Dry toast, old bread. Some oak, some barley, but the iron and apples keep leading the way.

Sip:
The palate is quite strong, with lots of bite from the alcohol. Far more than expected. It’s getting dryer with some more time. Dry grist, oak shavings, sawdust. The minerals are toned down a bit, although not completely gone. Slightly waxy, or maybe a bit more focused on resin instead of wax.

Swallow:
The finish is more typical for Clynelish. more waxy, slightly resiny. Some minerals and a hint of coastal salinity. Quite a big finish, long, baked apples, sweeter barley, before it goes back to the more dry notes.

This is a slightly strange one. On one hand there is the expected waxiness, beeswax, candlewax, that is expected. On the other hand there is a surprising and not insignificant austerity.

The minerals are very pronounced, and have a rather tense relation to the waxiness. It’s almost contradictory, but in the end it works quite well.

Strangely, it took me the entire 10cl to come to this conclusion. Initially I didn’t dislike this whisky, but I wasn’t blown away either. However, the further down the level of whisky in the sample bottle went, the more I started liking the whisky and discovering new things.

Initially I wanted to rate this at 87, but I’ve decided to up my score to 89. I actually quite love this one, and will be on the lookout for stuff like this in auctions and such. Of course it’s never going to pop up, since it’s highly popular and the bottler is rare.

89/100

About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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