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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

August 10, 2018



Wait, it seems that we turned 16 last week!
So let's have Clynelish! Yay!

Looks like the heatwave we’ve had made us lose all senses, we even forgot, indeed forgot, to celebrate Whiskyfun’s 16th Anniversary on July 27. Seriously, we just forgot.

But I checked our stats – which we don’t do much, as we’re more about quality, aren’t we, while Google rather favours function and business over content relevance these days – and to my utter amazement, our numbers have been rising a wee bit over the last twelve months, from roughly 3.5Mio visits last year to around 3.85Mio. That’s exactly 10%, whoopee! July’s even been a record-breaking month, I just do not know why as summer’s usually quite quiet. Anyway, do not expect any form of rant or long development today, let’s simply have a few finger-licking-good Clynelish if you don’t mind, while thanking dear Angus MacRaild for all his help over the last months.


Clynelish 9 yo 2008/2017 (54.3%, The Whisky Cask, bourbon barrel)

Clynelish 9 yo 2008/2017 (54.3%, The Whisky Cask, bourbon barrel) Four stars
Always enjoyed what the little German company The Whisky Cask were doing. Friendly people, no big heads, and careful selections. As for this ‘lish, at such young age we should be all on the juice, let’s see… Colour: white wine. Nose: get out of here, this is purely limestone-y Clynelish, with the greenest lime and the rawest gooseberries and rhubarbs thrown in, together with something like grated propolis or even Play-Doh, then rather cantaloupes. This is pure Clynelish, just not utterly complex this far, which is normal at 9. With water: more malt bread, oriental brioche, porridge… I wouldn’t call it ‘Mr Waxy’ yet. Mouth (neat): really very sharp, close to the driest martinis (last time I had some in Glasgow it was only gin with one single olive, if I remember well). Green, acidic, blade-y, sauvignony, rough… With water: I think we managed to tame it, but it remained pretty green and sharp, with a tiny petroly side. No big wax, though. Finish: long, raw, green, porridge-y. Bitter grapefruits in the aftertaste. Comments: very good, but wondering if the receiver hadn’t been un-sludged, if you see what I mean.
SGP:361 - 85 points.

Clynelish 12 yo 2005/2018 (55.1%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, refill sherry butt, cask #308764, 518 bottles)

Clynelish 12 yo 2005/2018 (55.1%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, refill sherry butt, cask #308764, 518 bottles) Four stars
I wouldn’t say Clynelish + sherry always works, but let’s see, and after all this is refill. Colour: gold. Nose: ah, leather, tobacco, more leather, caraway, walnuts, star anise, cinnamon, muscovado sugar, nutmeg, orange blossom water, Fanta or Fanta-y scents… You got it, the sherry’s impact remained quite huge, let’s see what water will do to it… With water: walnut wine with some cinnamon and orange zests. This one’s ready for Christmas. Mouth (neat): it’s very rich and very creamy, with a thick leathery impact and many walnuts – which hints at oloroso – and reminiscences of the old Clynelish Flora and Fauna. Perhaps of G&M’s older brown and orange label at C/S too… There are also touches of mustard over all those walnuts. With water: I would say the oranges came to the front of the stage again. Finish: long, really spicy and a tad bitter – as in bitters. Comments: a very interesting counterpoint, after the very naked 2008. Level of quality is similar, that is to say high.
SGP:461 - 85 points.

Clynelish 17 yo 1996/2014 (58.2%, Hunter Laing, The First Editions)

Clynelish 17 yo 1996/2014 (58.2%, Hunter Laing, The First Editions) Five stars
An early First Edition that had slipped through my fingers. Watch this, the vintage was great. Colour: white wine. Nose: theeere, chalk and beeswax, linseed oil, grapefruits, clay, plasticine, kiwis… With water: exceptional mossy smells, fern, autumn leaves, perhaps a touch of bitter almonds – or orgeat syrup, this is so fully Clynelish! Mouth (neat): perfect. Lemon, grapefruits, green pepper, waxes, chalk, green tea. That’s what the people want. With water: herbal teas, a touch of tobacco, green oranges, hints of coriander and cardamom… This one sure has depth and structure. Finish: long, more mineral, almost a tad quinine-y. The minerality’s bordering on smokiness, while this isn’t properly a smoky whisky. Comments: I cannot have enough of this, more proof that Clynelish, most of the times, remains one of the greatest distillates on earth. And that is why I’ve chosen it to celebrate WF’s 16th birthday!
SGP:462 - 90 points.

More 1996 please…

Clynelish 20 yo 1996/2017 (51.2%, The Whisky Cask, bourbon hogshead)

Clynelish 20 yo 1996/2017 (51.2%, The Whisky Cask, bourbon hogshead) Five stars
What I also enjoy with The Whisky Cask is that they’re using truly original artwork. Colour: white wine. Nose: this is a sharper one again, with some very dry white wine, some unexpected notes of tinned sardines (ex-herring casks – probably not ;-)), new plastic or new shoes, and a lot of rubbed or crushed leaves and herbs, grass, cactus, oyster plant… To say that this one’s rather singular would be an understatement. With water: a bit more rounded, with our beloved old tweed jacket that’s seen many moons and rains, as well as some pastry dough flavoured with orange blossom water. Mouth (neat): very funny. Sardines again, perhaps even anchovies, drowned in litres of lime and lemon juice, plus two or three blackcurrants and the sharpest and greenest gooseberries. I have to say I’m about to fall in love with this very unusual profile - while wondering if anybody could make the same again, on purpose. With water: oh fennel seeds and even dill! That would go well with the fish, but the fish has gone as soon as water’s been added. How bizarre. Finish: long, perfect, on salted tequila, perhaps. Sutherland Margarita, that was her name. Comments: terrific Clynelish, but sadly, no surprise. Bah…
SGP:362 - 90 points.

Clynelish 21 yo 1995/2017 (55.5%, Signatory Vintage, Cask Strength Collection, hogshead, cask #8672, 566 bottles)

Clynelish 21 yo 1995/2017 (55.5%, Signatory Vintage, Cask Strength Collection, hogshead, cask #8672, 566 bottles) Five stars
In theory, nothing could or should go wrong here. Colour: straw. Nose: a different style again, and this time we’re first finding magic mangos and a bucket of lavender honey, then melons and grapefruits, with a little shoe polish and candle wax. Some pu-erh tea too. This profile is even harder to beat in my book. With water: ooh, we’ve just opened a beehive! Mouth (neat): exceptionally sharp, lemony, chalky, perhaps a tad sulphury in the best of ways (ala Mortlach), with anything from some grapefruit. Green pepper too, apple peelings, hops, artichokes… I adore this full and very imposing profile, even if it is a tad austere. With water: careful, do not add too much water or it would lose its fruits. But if you don’t, you’re in for a waxy and citrusy treat. Finish: long, waxy and citrusy. Paraffin in the aftertaste. Comments: plain and pure Clynelishness, in the (many) good vintages Clynelish is one of the Coltranes of whisky.
SGP:462 - 91 points.

Happy birthday, little Whiskyfun! If I may…

More tasting notesCheck the index of all Clynelish we've tasted so far






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