Archive for the ‘Clynelish’ Category

Highland Laird Clynelish 1997 (17 year old) 52.9%

Sherry Hogshead/ Dist: 1997 Btl: 2014/ Tasted: April 2015

Fragrant barley aromas mingle with straw, mature honey, herbs, grass and hints of malt. This is a very complex nose and opens to show hints of wheat germ, bran, lemon bonbons and lime. The sherry influence is very subtle so the oak is more toffee’d in character.

The palate is soft with fragrant barley and light honey. It darkens slightly on the middle as some malt arrives along with hints of coffee and toffee. Quite alcoholic and piquant but the juicy barley makes the finish rather succulent. Hints of grass, minerals and dry tannins finish it off.

With water the nose becomes amazingly juicy with orange, tangerine and Satsuma notes. The oak has become subtler too. The palate pretty much mirrors the nose. The citrus fruit shows a delightful sugar coating and the finish less tannic, but chewier and maltier


Wemyss Single Cask Release, Bench With a Sea View 46%

Tasted: Jan 2015

Nose: Initially quite oily and a little fishy with gritty oak and violets. Luscious honey balances the gritty oak and as if by magic the oak becomes very mature and sawdusty. The perfumed honey asserts and hints of ginger root, liquorice and herbs appear.

Palate: Soft and mature with barley and oodles of luscious honey and sawdusty oak. A touch of green apple and citrus comes through on the middle to balance the dusty tannins and honey.

Finish: Long and salty with the fleshy fruit and honey lingering along with a light mocha note.

Conclusion: Beautifully balanced. Gritty oak and coastal notes hint at an Islander but the oak and honey says Speyside. Grantown-on-sea?

Single Malts of Scotland Clynelish 1995 (18 year old) 57.5%

Bourbon Cask 10193/ Dist: 1995 Btl: March 2014/ Tasted: July 2014

Nose: Oily and intensely grainy with plenty of dried, oxidised fruit to start with hints of wheat flakes and herbal rye-like notes. Youthful and exuberant with the herbal notes intensifying. Hints of honey and creamy oak add some sweetness. Water mutes the aromas big time! Very oily now with only the herbal element remaining.  

Palate: Soft an oaky to start. Buckets of creamy vanillins, followed by sweet barley and alcohol! There are hints of dried fruit on the middle, but the alcohol dominates. Diluted it becomes rather watery and a bit vague, some sawdusty notes do appear though.  

Finish: Still quite oaked! With the alcohol masking. Water brings out the herbal notes but there’s no taming the alcohol!  

Conclusion: Unbalanced and too alcoholic. I had feeling it might fall apart with water, and it did!

The First Edition Clynelish 1996(?) (17 year old) 58.2%

Bourbon/ Code: EDI0032/ Dist: 1996(?) Btl: Feb 2014/ Tasted: Mar 2014

A lovely nose of floral orange blossom honey, sweet barley and lightly sawdusty oak. It absolutely oozes mature tropical white fruit, apricot and pineapple. Wow! The oak is becoming wonderfully sawdusty and some crunchy graduated sugar and aromatic lime notes appear.

The palate opens pretty much like the nose with the orange blossom honey and tropical fruit. Extremely mouth-filling with chunk oak and barley. Very spicy middle with a balancing lime note. Long, dusty, honeyed, spicy finish. Very impressive.

The First Editions ‘Authors Series No3 Edgar Allen Po’ Clynelish 1996 (18 year old) 56.1%

Refill Hogshead HL1170/ Dist: Dec 1996 Btl: Jan 2015/ Tasted: Dec 2015

Fresh citrus aromas with baked fruit and hints of almond, salt and damp straw. A touch of sweet barley appears but it’s a bit woody and feels older than 18.

The palate is quite drying and woody with baked fruit an hints of barley and citrus. Neat the finish is quite masked and alcoholic with a touch of pulped fruit in the finish.

With water the baked fruits are still evident on the nose along with pithy tangerine and orange. Hints of sweet oak now appear along with a touch of clove. Lovely and luscious now. The palate displays the tangerine/ orange fruit found on the nose and it feels fuller, fruitier and sweeter with a lovely barley’d character. Long and very juicy with pear, peach and subtle almond notes in the finish. Although the nose is better with water the palate outshines it.



Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask Clynelish 1997 (16 year old) 50%

Bourbon/ Code: OMC2351/ Dist: May 1997 Btl: Jan 2014/ Tasted: Feb 2014

Now that’s an oaky nose. Buttery and toasty with some fragrant barley, dense apricot and honey. A touch of citrus and mineral attempts to balance but we are still firmly in oaksville! With time the oak becomes rather chocolaty in character – white chocolate.

The palate displays a little less oak, which allows the crunchy/brittle honey to show, but the oak duly arrives and builds coating the mouth in a creamy/ toffee’d/ toasty veneer . The mineral and citrus comes back on the finish to clean and leaves a lovely soft honey and spice after-taste.

Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask Clynelish 1997 (16 year old) 50%

Bourbon/ Code: OMC2355/ Dist: May 1997 Btl: May 2014/ Tasted: June 2014

A dense and dusty nose with a big fragrant barley hit. The oak has a lovely slightly sawdusty edge which gives the aromas a greater aged feeling. Quite fleshy with hints of apricot, white fruit, grass, honeycomb and smoke.

A soft, barley led palate with plenty of sawdusty oak. Again it feels older than 16 with toffee coated apricot and hints of white fruit along with a vibrant, stony demeanour. Lovely honeyed middle and a long, dusty oak finish with a touch of sweet spice. Very pleasant.

Douglas McGibbon Provenance Clynelish 1997 (15 year old) 46%

Bourbon/ Code: PRV0975/ Dist: Jul 1997 Btl: Apr 2013/ Tasted: May 2013

A crisp granity barley nose with a light, boiled sweet character along with a touch of woody spice and creamy oak. The aromas become fuller as some banana and apricot fruit becomes apparent and the oak begins to show a slight sawdusty aged demeanour. With time it becomes very spicy. 

The palate opens with some sweet barley, tangerine and apricot. Bold and fruity with a serious minerality. Some lightly oiled oak appears brining a touch of toffee, and even though it has some lovely granulated sugar moments the minerality dominates. Lovely length with a light citrus note and lingering sweetness.

Coopers Choice Clynelish 1998 (12 year old) 46%

Single American Hogshead (375 bottles)/ Dist: 1998 Btl: 2011/ Tasted: Mar 2013

A pleasantly fresh nose of lemon along with some hints of honey and popcorn. Maybe a touch on the thin side but with time it develops some pleasant perfumed white fruit notes. 

The palate is thicker than the nose suggests, mainly down to the fact that the oak has put in an appearance! It opens with some soft barley and honey which is interwoven with a sweet caramel thread. Gently refreshing granity, citrusy middle with a little herbal note. Good length with a lightly earthy finish.


Carn Mor Celebration of the Cask Clynelish 1996 (19 year old) 55.4%

Bourbon Hogshead 8801/ Dist: Oct 1996 Btl: Oct 2015/ Tasted: Nov 2015

Lovely fresh and grassy aromas of sweet barley, orange blossom honey and hints of har, brittle barley. Some soft, buttery oak rounds the nose out and hints of perfume peach become apparent. With time some malt and coffee appears and the oak becomes a little dusty.

The palate is as fresh, crisp an grassy as the nose with white fruit and subtle creamy oak. Full and barley’d on the middle with hints of white liquorice and honey. Long and remaining crisp with a wonderfully vibrant and citric finish. The lightly oily vanilla and barley balances well.

Water brings out the juicy citrus on the nose but equally makes it oilier and meatier. On the palate it emphasises the oak a little and gives it a spicier finish. However I refer it neat.

Carn Mor Celebration of the Cask Clynelish 1997 (20 year old) 57%

First Fill Sherry Butt 9441/ Dist: Sept 1997 Btl: Sept 2017/ Tasted: Oct 2017

Rich, treacle and aromatic dried fruit on the nose with hints of citrus, cardamom, cinnamon and subtle herbal Oloroso notes. Good complexity with a touch of butter, heather and barley.

The palate displays more sherry character and opens with the luscious treacle and dried fruit, along with wonderfully soft, chocolaty tannins, walnut and raisin. Deep and long with a gentle spice and herbal finish. There’s a little bitterness at the end but for a first fill sherry cask it has a lovely balance.

Carn Mor Celebration of the Cask Clynelish 1989 (27 year old) 54.5%

Bourbon Hogshead/ Dist: 1989 Btl: 2016/ Tasted: May 2016

Beautiful aromas of dusty American oak with hints of lime, pear, orange, honey and lightly herbal coffee’d notes. With time some earthy, herbal spice appears. Stunning depth and freshness.

The palate opens with a lovely fleshy barley and honey character with subtle, dusty oak. Hints of citrus, earth, vanilla and coffee follow. Lovely, earthy, spicy and coffee’d finish with lingering herbs, honey, vanilla and late dark chocolate.


Carn Mor Clynelish 2003 (6 year old) 46%

Bourbon Hogshead 2223/ Dist: 2003 Btl: 2009/ Tasted: Feb 2012

A biscuity, soapy, cerealy marc-like nose with a touch of spice. Far, far too young although it’s good spirit. There’s absolutely no wood interaction (which is obvious from the colour or the lack of it!). late hint of grass.

The palate is a bit sweet, a bit gristy, a bit grassy and a bit spicy. Intrusively alcoholic, no wood, no real finish, should have been left in the cask for a few more years.

Murray McDavid Clynelish 1990 (14 year old) 46%

Refill Sherry Cask MM 0402/ Dist: 1990 Btl: 2004/ Tasted: June 2005

A lovely nose. Ice cream fruits, vanilla and earth followed by aromatic apples with a touch of tropical fruit. Intense on the palate with vanilla ice cream, gentle spice and apple. Tangy and mouth filling with smoky hints.

Murray McDavid Clynelish 1997 (12 year old) 46%

Bourbon – Chateau Lafite/ Dist: 1997 Btl: 2009/ Tasted: Feb 2010

Surprisingly coastal on the nose with light honey and hard-edged red berry fruit. There’s some earth, brine, fish and tobacco ash, and that’s about it.

The palate opens with hard berry fruits and is a tad linear as the sweetness builds. Some vanilla pod and coastal notes attempts to break through the wineyness as does some honey, but it’s short lived as the tannins and wood bring the shutters down. A definite wood splinters finish.

Murray McDavid Mission Series III Clynelish 1983 (20 year old) 46%

Bourbon/ Dist: 1983 Btl: 2004/ Tasted: June 2004

The nose opens with gentle nutty oak, followed by a stunning depth of Satsuma, nectarine, sweet barley and a touch of mature honey, all liberally coated with brown sugar. Deftly fruity with the oak adding lovely creamy notes.

The palate is sumptuous and fruity, full of juicy apricot and banana. Quite grippy but the oak does turn sawdusty with time. Brittle honeyed barley follows as does a hint of white flowers, crisp green apple, spice, light peat and straw. Generous and mouth filling. The oak returns on the finish with that lovely mellow nuttiness.

Murray McDavid Mission Series Clynelish 1990 (14 year old) 56.4%

Bourbon/ Dist: 1990 Btl Jan 2004/ Tasted: May 2005

A crisp, clean and coastal saturated nose. Lovely complexity of creamy vanilla oak, toffee, apricot and a touch of sweet spice. Soft, smooth and succulent on the palate with a big malt arrival followed by the vanilla oak, dry spice and alcohol. Very long with a fleeting smoky note to finish.

A drop of water brings out the rich, lusciously spiced orange and tangerine fruit on the nose. Superb clarity but the coastalness has faded somewhat. On the palate it softens and brings forward the creamy oak. It also allows a lovely apricot and citrus note to emerge, however the costal character return on the finish

James MacArthur Old Masters Clynelish 1995 (10 year old) 58.9%

Sherry Cask 2279/ Dist: 1995 Btl: 2005/ Tasted: Aug 2007

Initially a touch spirity, but that passed quickly to reveal a nose of youthful, rich, delicately sherried orange fruit, flowers, earthy dunnage floors, coffee and spice with a slight perfumed note and a touch of cream.

On the palate it is very intense with the alcohol dominating the palate along with sherry fruit, earth, soft wood tannins and coffee. A drop of water softens the nose and removes the spirity edge. It allows the aromas to become more succulent with a lovely softness and brings out some honey and vanilla notes. Whilst on the palate it has become like the nose, soft, juicy and succulent with a lovely sweetness along with a coffee/ chocolate note. It magnifies the length and a smidge of peat and distant smoke can now be detected.

In conclusion this is a very nice expression. I would have liked to see it with a few more years on the proverbial clock, but I wonder if the sherry would overwhelm the distillery character. Definitely worth it!

James MacArthur Old Masters Clynelish 1997 (13 year old) 52.1%

Bourbon Cask 4643/ Dist: 1997 Btl: 2010/ Tasted: Aug 2011

A fresh and quite fruity nose. A lovely burst of mature honey along with hints of grass. There is plenty of American oak, but it is wonderfully balanced. The aromas seem older than 13 years.

The palate opens with some sweet barley and soft fruits. After the alcohol bites the middle shows some lovely granity hard honey, accented by some grassy notes. Good length and finish. The palate is more representative of its age.

With water the nose becomes wonderfully perfumed, now showing hints of liquorice, orange and some light coffee. Very polished and succulent. The palate is softer and grassier, still quite sweet with banana and fleshy fruit now showing. Very mouth-filling with a slight smoked bacon note on the finish.