Three Similar Clynelishes from Adelphi

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Time for some whisky geekery and some love for Clynelish which is something I haven’t gotten to do in a while. I’ve mentioned before but Clynelish was the first single malt I ‘discovered’ on my own so I have a bit of a soft spot for it.

Recently (well not so recently, been hanging onto them for a while until I had a totally free weekend) by way of a bottle share I got a hold of these 3 samples. Aside from liking Clynelish I was interested because two are sister casks but with a year difference in age, and the 3rd was the same age as the older two but was distilled a year earlier. Additionally they’re all matured in refill bourbon casks. So I figured I could play around and see the differences when it comes to distillation vs. maturation and all that, and also to drink some Clynelish, because I really like Clynelish.

They all come from Adelphi, an independent bottler named after a closed distillery whose whiskies I have seldom tried because they tend to be on the expensive side, but this is well earned and they have a very solid reputation for putting out some amazing casks.


Clynelish 1990 Cask 3233

Aged 23 years. 49% ABV. Matured in a refill bourbon cask. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength from cask #3233

Nose: Tropical fruit. Banana flavouring. Cooked pineapple. Waxy citrus peel. Slightly dusty. Light woodsmoke and the slightest hint of tar and treacle. Light woodspice. Slight hints of muscato.

Palate: Silky mouthfeel. Sweet white wine. Nutmeg. Honey. Parsley. Coal dust. Pencil shavings. Bitter wood tannins bring up the end.

Finish: Medium-long. Bitter wood. Tropical fruits. Apricot. Sandalwood.

Would I buy this: Yes

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 2/5


Clynelish 1990 Cask 3232

Aged 24 years. 50.2% ABV. Matured in a refill bourbon cask. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength from cask #3232

Nose: Vanilla icing. Lemon curd. Creme brulee. Slight ethanol coming through here. Waxy citrus peel. Paraffin. Light ginger. Sandalwood. A tropical fruit note similar to cask 3233 shows up but only after some time.

Palate: Very waxy mouthfeel. Bitter wood. Light smoke. Pencil shavings. Stewed apricots. Maple syrup. Woodspice. Waxy citrus peels.

Finish: Long. Bitter fruits. Banana. Treacle. Aromatic green herbs, menthol and wintergreen. Long dry banana flavour stays on the tongue with waves of woodspice at the back of the mouth.

Would I buy this: Yes

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 2/5


Clynelish 1989 Cask 3846

Aged 24 years. 53.1% ABV. Matured in a refill bourbon cask. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength from cask #3846

Nose: A lot of smells I’d usually associate with cognac. Also some bay rum. Marzipan. Cooked fruits, mainly pineapple. Light honey. Syrup from tinned fruit salad. Sultanas. Spice here is more peppery than woody, almost like a refined Tabasco.

Palate: Very spicy. Some more bay rum. An almost meaty fruit note, similar to a classic Mortlach. Coconut. Herbal honey. Dry wood tannins. Bitter citrus peel. Creamy porridge.

Finish: Long. Very dry. Full of woodspice and pepper. Some vanilla. Bitter green herbs. Tabasco. Charred wood. Tobacco smoke.

Would I buy this: Yes

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 2/5


None of these 3 could really be faulted they were all really good, so a credit to Adelphi there. I found the sister casks quite similar, with one being slightly more fruity and the other more spicy (and a hint of ethanol showing), which makes sense as the spicier one had a higher ABV. They were quite typically Clynelish, with the fruits and the wax and mild smoke.

The 1989 cask (3846) was a total outlier. While I do prefer the character of the other two casks in terms of personal taste, this one was bloody interesting with a lot of quite unique notes I wasn’t expecting.

Obviously I can’t really imply much based on these 3 samples but it seems like a different distillation batch makes quite a difference.

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