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

December 18, 2018


More crazy Clynelish

Clynelish’s not always ‘crazy’, some vintages having been quieter, lighter, and rather fruitier. But in general…

Clynelish 20 yo 1997/2018 (46%, Orcines, hogshead, cask #12351, 278 bottles)

Clynelish 20 yo 1997/2018 (46%, Orcines, hogshead, cask #12351, 278 bottles) Five stars
Orcines is The Whisky Lodge’s series of own bottlings. Colour: straw. Nose: not your average Clynelish, as it starts a little acetic (cider vinegar, lemon juice) and with touches of fennel, but it would get into line after just a few seconds, with classic waxy notes mingled with some citrons and bergamots. After two minutes, it would smell just like a fresh pack of bergamot sweets, which is something that I enjoy tremendously. Please check the Bergamottes de Nancy as soon as you’ve got two minutes! Mouth: Clynelish lovers will love this, as it’s got all of the make’s traditional markers, including some kind of light dirtiness. I’m finding grapefruit juice, chenin blanc, lime juice, chalk, paraffin, beeswax, and a wee coastal side, around kelp and seawater. Two grains of salt playing with your lower lip. Finish: long, very waxy, a notch sour, chalky. Plasticine. Comments: a great Clynelish at a perfect drinking strength – worthy savings on water to be made here.
SGP:462 - 90 points.

Clynelish 1995/2018 (53.6%, Signatory Vintage for La Maison du Whisky, 20 rue d’Anjou, refill sherry butt, cask #8680, 570 bottles)

Clynelish 1995/2018 (53.6%, Signatory Vintage for La Maison du Whisky, 20 rue d’Anjou, refill sherry butt, cask #8680, 570 bottles) Five stars
As far as I’m concerned, with Clynelish, the best sherry is no sherry. But refill can be close… Colour: deep gold. Nose: two or three struck matches at first nosing, then cakes, walnuts, dried meats, leather, tobacco, beef bouillon, beef jerky, miso soup… I wouldn’t tell you I’ve found a huge Clynelishness so far, but the sherry’s absolutely perfect. With water: it’s not totally unseen that some bone-dry sherry would impart some smoke to some otherwise virtually unpeated whisky. That’s what’s happening here, and the combo gives you a totally unexpected feeling of Old Clynelish. I couldn’t possibly be against that, could I? Mouth: umami in full swing. Glutamate, tobacco, leather, salted oranges, Chinese dried tangerine peel (chen pi), marrow dumplings, parsley… With water: there, grapefruits, citrons, limoncello, beeswax, plasticine… Finish: long, waxy, citrusy. And with some umami at that! Comments: it’s easy to find out who's responsible for this sorcery, they’re right on the back label. The names are Jean-Marc and Salvatore.
SGP:462 - 91 points.


Clynelish 23 yo 1990/2014 (49%, Adelphi, refill bourbon barrel, cask #3233, 176 bottles) Five stars
High hopes here but careful with these vintages… Colour: straw. Nose: phew, it’s a waxy batch. We could stop here but since it‘s Clynelish… Orange peel, beeswax, sunflower oil, burning candles, riesling, ink and newspapers, baker’s yeast, sourdough, pine needles… This is what I’d call an obvious nose. Or perfection made whisky. Mouth: medicinal arrival, then chalk, lemon, plasticine, riesling, pine liqueur, a drier chartreuse, a drop of Jägermeister (ich bitte um Entschuldigung) and a vast amount of citrus peels. Terrific. Finish: long, tense, almost a little brutal, as when you’ve had the strongest and driest herbal drinks. I think we could have called the anti-maltoporn brigade. Comments: insane whisky that hits you right between your eyes in spite of the moderate strength and the virtual absence of peat. Hate it that I missed this one when it was still on the shelves; what was I doing?
SGP:462 - 92 points.

Don’t we love a wee challenge? So why not try to climb even higher and defeat that flabbergasting Adelphi?


Clynelish 1972/2002 (58%, Scotch Malt Sales, Japan) Five stars
An extremely rare bottle by Liquid Gold/Scotch Malt Sales. We’ve tried a 1974 by them just a few months ago and thought it was just out of this world (no less than WF 94). Oh and it seems that unless WWIII happens before February 23 next year, this little 1972 will be poured at Glasgow’s Whisky Show Old & Rare. Do they do book-a-dram? Colour: gold. Nose: put Frank Zappa on the stereo, take apple pie, pour honey over it, add beeswax, add Yquem, add drops of yellow chartreuse, add lemon juice, and this time, please call the anti-maltoporn brigade. With water: oh, no! Mead, precious old sweet wines, forgotten waxes and oils, the rarest flowers (I’m not an expert), and such. Mouth (neat): I’m sorry but this is almost indescribable for it is rather a whole than the sum of several parts. In other words, proper tasting notes here would rather read like ‘Clynelish 1972’. Which, I agree, would not be very useful, but there, I did the best I could. Did you call the anti-maltoporn brigade yet? With water: if you don’t mind, I’ll keep this between this little whisky and me. Finish: great whiskies often lose a wee bit of steam at this point, and indeed this fantastic Clynelish gets a tad ‘too’ grassy. More peels than fruits, if you like, but I may be trying to be clever now. Comments: seriously, the 1974 was as brilliant, I think. This 1972 lost one point, or maybe two, at the finish line. Other than that, it’s just glorious, plainly unforgettable malt whisky. One of the greatest distillates ever made by Man.
SGP:651 - 94 points.

What a session!

(Thank you Angus, Cato and Fabien)

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






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