Google Greatish Clynelish

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

March 3, 2021


Greatish Clynelish

Still love, love, love Clynelish, but the very fact that IBs do not seem to be allowed to use the name anymore will probably damage the reputation in the future. As old marketeers used to say, you cannot have a good (or a bad) image when brand awareness is weak, while brand awareness only comes with product exposure and/or publicity. I agree, we deserve a few drams now…

A Highland Distillery 10 yo 2010/2020 (54.8%, The Maltman, sherry butt, cask #2090, 632 bottles)

A Highland Distillery 10 yo 2010/2020 (54.8%, The Maltman, sherry butt, cask #2090, 632 bottles) Three stars
It's good that the back label would tell us this was distilled in Sutherland, we could have thought it was Old Rhosdhu. See what I mean? Colour: deep amber. Nose: loads of chocolate, chicory drink, Ovaltine and a little rubber and gunpowder. I wouldn't have sworn this was Clynelish at this stage, this is more Motörhead than Mozart. With water: some coastal notes, kelp… Some chutneys too, cloves, a little tar… Really not a ballerina. Mouth (neat): salty teriyaki sauce, pepper, leather, bitter leaves, rubber, bitters, cocoa, Seville oranges. All that is really heavy indeed. With water: soy sauce and armagnac blended together, with some drops od artichoke bitters for good measure. Finish: very long, leafy, dry, salty. More bitterness and chocolate in the aftertaste. Comments: good dram but as they say, distillery character disappears quicker than Harry Houdini after such a treatment, even Clynelish. Or was it Old Rhosdhu indeed? Nah, remember, Sutherland… Wait, Glenmorangie?
SGP:371 - 80 points.

Clynelish 10 yo 2010/2021 (57.5%, The Single Malts of Scotland, cask #700050)

Clynelish 10 yo 2010/2021 (57.5%, The Single Malts of Scotland, cask #700050) Four stars
This one's brand new, picture is that of a previous expression. Indeed I could have put a wild kitten instead. Colour: white wine (hurray). Nose: crushed chalk, squeezed lemons, oysters and a touch of fresh coriander (hurray). With water: whiffs of maize bread and a new pack of marshmallows. Coriander again, and something slightly grappa-y. Mouth (neat): lemon jellies and drops, green peppercorns, touch of bubblegum and marshmallows, perhaps a hint of grated coconut. Green pepper and balm-mint extracts. Bamboo shoots too (hurray) and a slight idea of the existence of some waxiness, no more. With water: a fruit feast indeed rather than an austere waxy and mineral beast. Jelly babies, beans, crocodiles and Trump heads. Are those out yet? Finish: medium, very fruity, probably not intensely Clynelish, but just excellent. Lemon drops in the aftertaste (bravo). Comments: the lemons are this drop's main asset. Excellent but once again and just like its sister casks, not quite an ueber-waxy 'lish.
SGP:541 - 86 points.

Did someone just mention sister casks?

Clynelish 10 yo 2010 (57.4%, The Single Malts of Scotland, for USA, cask #700051, 228 bottles)

Clynelish 10 yo 2010 (57.4%, The Single Malts of Scotland, for USA, cask #700051, 228 bottles) Four stars
Colour: white wine. Nose: amazing, this one's much more austere at first, on hessian and brake pad dust, then we find lime and kiwis indeed, granny smith, and various other green fruits. More green tea too. Lovely, er, greenness. With water: indeed it is greener and tarter. Starfruits, lemons, wet plaster, then a little beeswax and curaçao. Mouth (neat): we're much closer to #700050 on the palate. Perhaps a few more waxy oils? More Clynelishness? With water: perhaps. Now both whiskies are extremely close, naturally, if not proper twins. Finish: medium, fruity and chalky, with nods to Chenin blanc moelleux – which means semi-sweet in case you don't know. Comments: I think I liked this one a wee tad better but we're splitting hairs now, something I'm pretty good at says my better half.
SGP:551 - 87 points.

Since we're having tenners…

Distilled in Sutherland 10 yo 2010/2020 (57.3%, Thompson Bros., 90 bottles)

Distilled in Sutherland 10 yo 2010/2020 (57.3%, Thompson Bros., 90 bottles) Five stars
A micro-bottling and a large cat on the label, which leaves no uncertainties. Although the latter would rather look like a stray cat, no? Colour: white wine. Nose: further into 'lish, earthier and waxier, leafier, perhaps more complex and certainly less fruity. Paraffin and new vinyl record, a little engine oil, some burnt grasses and garden woods and leaves, notes of citron at the fruit section. With water: lovely. Dirty waxes, olive oil, miso… Mouth (neat): ah yes, another world, a feeling that could come from the cask's former content. Islay? Indeed this baby's more medicinal, camphory, waxy, with dirty leathers ala Ben Nevis and oiled marrow ala Springbank (wha-a-at?) With water: superb. We had a Zoom gathering around a few waxy oldies last night (at time of writing) and we mentioned kokumi, that famous 'fatty' sixth taste. So we're clearly finding kokumi here, a.k.a. oleogustus on our shores. Great. Finish: long, just perfect, full, complex, earthy, medicinal, waxy, almost a little Brora-y. More about Brora hereunder. Comments: I'm curious about the cask here, but I would understand that's a secret, Phil and Simon. There are only secrets in this industry anyway, sob sob sob…
SGP:453 - 90 points.

Clynelish 21 yo 1997 (49.9%, The Malt Affair & The Auld Alliance, bourbon cask, 254 bottles, +/-2019)

Clynelish 21 yo 1997 (49.9%, The Malt Affair & The Auld Alliance, bourbon cask, 254 bottles, +/-2019) Four stars
I believe this is a very Singaporean affair, but we all know these good folks do know their whisky. Colour: white wine. Nose: refill wood, so fresh and tight, high-precision, with luminous bready and waxy tones, plus mint, quinine, pine resin, and probably a little aniseed. It is a tad unusual to tell you the truth, but we're all for just any differences in this world. Kumbaya, mee lord. Mouth: one of those 'bridge-y' Clynelishes that would link us to the great vintages of the 1980s, such as 1983. Heaving said that the chalk and the hessian are heavy here, you'd almost believe you're sucking raw wool at times. Grapefruits and oysters are singing loud though, and so is paraffin. A curious touch of fish oil. Cod? Finish: long and much more bitter, green, almost acidic. There is some peat too here, seriously. Unexpected notes of plastic and perhaps even soap in the aftertaste. Comments: not a textbook Clynelish at all on the palate, but all these uncertainties do make it appealing, provided you've already tried a few dozen.
SGP:462 - 87 points.

Now watch this…

Clynelish 12 yo (57%, OB, green and red label, +/-1985)

Clynelish 12 yo (57%, OB, green and red label, +/-1985) Five stars
A super-rare 100-proof version of the well-known official 'orange and bordeaux' or 'brick and red' or 'brown and orange' label, poured at the online Whisky Show Old & Rare this year. This is the first time I'm trying this, believe or not, this thanks to Mr. Sukhinder Singh, who would deserve the Légion d'Honneur just because of that. Not just a simple Knighthood, ladies and gentlemen, Officer at least! If not Commander… Or High-Commander… In truth, I've always believed this was a misprinted label. It was not. Colour: straw. Nose: of course, you cannot not wonder if this is 'old' Clynelish or 'new' Clynelish. To be honest it does hint at 'old' Clynelish, being more mineral and more phenolic, and less on fruiter aromas or just beeswax than the new Clynelishes. Not sure you're following me, are you? Hessian, chalk, metal polish, coalpit, fisherman's nests, whelks and crabs, fern, rubbed lovage leaves, camphor, myrtle liqueur, aspirin, just damp earth… No, after reflection and unless the palate tells me otherwise, this is clearly 'old' Clynelish if you ask me. No water needed (save the planet!) Mouth: long story short, this is old Clynelish in my humble opinion, perhaps with a little more sherriness and roundness (a drop of coconut oil) than, for example, the last 12 100proof for Giaccone (which, incidentally, was rather sporting the brick and red label). Oh please just call the Anti-Maltoporn Brigade, thank you mucho. Finish: yes and that's the fate of many a great whisky, which makes them even more precious (what a waste of bandwidth, S.!) Stunning salted lemons in the aftertaste. Comments: I had thought I had tried them all. Vanitas vanitatum, omnia vanitas et sic transit gloria mundi.
SGP:364 - 94 points.

(Thank you Sukhinder!)

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







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