Clynelish is a distillery that hold a very special place in my heart and it’s been a long time since I’ve had anything other than the 14 year old distillery bottling. So I was very excited to get hold of this independent bottling from Signatory’s Cask Strength Collection (the ones with the really cool decanter).
This one is part of a number of sherry casks distilled in 1995 that have been slowly released over the past few years. Heavy sherry influence can be a bit of a controversial issue with the hardcore Clynelish fans, some love it, some or ok with it and some think it needs to be kept far far away from their whisky. I personally think the malt shines more in bourbon casks, but I have tried some excellent sherry matured ones, though I’ve found it varies from cask to cask and is either hit or miss.
Aged 20 years. 53.2%ABV. Matured in a refill sherry butt. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength from cask 8686.
Nose: Sticky raisins. Fruity sherry. Dust. Candied orange peel. Salmon. Cinnamon & Apple. Match heads. Acacia sap. Sealing resin.
Palate: Fruit leather. Leather leather. Bit of earth. Bitter chocolate. Red fruits. Coconut. Salty toffee. Slight liquorice notes.
Finish: Long. Bitter chocolate. Sulphur. Prunes. Cherry jam. Salt. Liquorice.
Would I buy this: No
Would I order this in a bar: Yes
Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes
Solid whisky, it definitely does what it says on the box, a nice sherried highland malt. But I found that it was a little muted and closed even after some glass time and water. It also lacked a lot of the unique Clynelish character and boldness.