Thanks to /u/UncleBaldric for the sample via /r/ScotchSwap on reddit.
Clynelish has long been one of my favourite distilleries, partially for sentimental reasons as it’s the first single malt I found all on my own (and it was a bit more obscure back then, especially here in Israel before the tax reform a few years ago). Of late I have not tried too many independent bottlings of it, time to change that.
This one is a sample from a recent swap I did with /u/UncleBaldric. I originally thought it was one of the many 1995/1996 sherried Clynelish bottlings done for The Whisky Exchange (TWE) by Signatory Vintage but after looking poking around the internet a bit I found it it was a bottling done by TWE for a whisky show in 2014 with a very cool retro label, and had apparently been fantastic, so very appreciative and excited to be able to try this.
Aged 18 years. 50.6% ABV. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength form a single cask.
Nose: Wine gums. Straw. Coal dust. Wood shavings. Red fruits. New engine oil. Raspberry powder. Leather. Dusty sherry. Clay.
Palate: Woodspice. Rich sherry. Nutty wood. Wax crayons. Clay. Tobacco. Dried berries. Black coffee. Caocao.
Finish: Long. Drying. Cherry cordial. Paraffin wax. Woodspice. Caocao. Red wine spice.
Would I buy this: Yes
Would I order this in a bar: Yes
Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes!
The sherry on this is quite prominent but doesn’t dominate the profile, very well balanced with the waxy, oily Clynelish character. There’s a lot of flavour to this, but nothing particular sticks out at first and one would be forgiven for thinking that it’s a boring whisky at first, but once you sit down with it for a good while you realise it’s just absolutely perfectly balanced. A work of art this.