My introduction to Clynelish was at last month's Glasgow Whisky Festival - and I was rather spoiled considering the fact I was swirling a 29-year-old cask strength humdinger.
I knew this 14 would struggle to match that SMWS behemoth, I happily
took the plunge to better appreciate the Clynelish character. The bottle
hasn't lasted long - a sure sign I've enjoyed it - while a hip flask brimming with this
fine single malt accompanied me on a trip to London a few weeks ago. It
certainly improved the four and a half hour train journey!
On the nose, the first thing I encountered was glue and corned beef! Honey, dried mixed fruit and salted lemon followed and there's a smokiness to the malt
but not peat - more like a whiff of campfire smoke from a mile or so away. I also found marzipan, icing sugar-covered bonbons, a slight yeasty note, musty tangerine, a hint of petrol, butter icing,
honeydew melon, orange oil, Lee's macaroon bars and a herbal note which reminded me of sage. Sweet and savoury in perfect
balance. Left for 30 minutes I got a smell which reminded me of walking into a Mexican deli - chipotle chillies and all! With a dribble of water, the
savoury scents took a step back and the orange citrus notes moved forward. In some ways it reminded me of Old Pulteney 12
The palate had a slight alcoholic nip at first which then gave way to orange oil, golden syrup, vanilla, milky coffee, a fair bit of chilli flake
heat along with chicory leaves and peppery rocket. The finish was spicy with more vanilla, a light caramel sauce, dried fruit and was slightly bitter.
I really enjoyed this one and found it a bit of a challenge at times due to its sweet and savoury character. Some days it would be fruity and sweet, while on others, those savoury, meaty notes seemed to be more pronounced. It's really made me want to taste more from the distillery and since quaffing this bottle, I've bought a 16-year-old independent bottling of Clynelish. I'll be opening that one in the near future - perhaps for my birthday later this month. We'll see!