Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Have just tried - Clynelish Distillers Edition

Clynelish (pronounced kline-leesh) is a distillery that is located in the town of Brora on the north eastern Highland coast. It is a modern distillery that was opened in 1967, however the history goes way back beyond that date. There has been a distillery in Brora since 1817 and this was also called Clynelish. The current distillery was built next to the old one and they were run simultaneously under the same name until the old one was closed in 1983.

Currently any whisky produced at the new distillery is called Clynelish and anything that remains available from the old distillery goes under the name of Brora. The two distilleries The current owners of Clynelish are Diageo and it is the fourth largest in their portfolio of 28 distilleries with an annual production capacity of 4.8 million litres.

The Distillers Edition series was devised by Diageo to be a creative extension of the Classic Malts. Within the range the Classic Malts are finished (or 'double matured' as the labels state) in alternative casks, which have previously held sherry or another fortified wine. The Clynelish Distillers Edition is essentially the 14 years old expression, which is then finished for a period of time in ex-Oloroso Seco sherry casks. The version than we are tasting here was distilled in 1993 and bottled in 2010 at a strength of 46% ABV. Clynelish Distillers Edition should cost around £55-60 from specialist whisky retailers.

Our tasting notes
The colour is golden yellow with a hint of amber and the nose is fresh, vibrant and highly perfumed. There are lovely aromas of fresh green apple combining with sweet malty cereals and caramel – the overall mix is reminiscent of toffee apples. Underneath are some fragrant dried fruits (think of raisin and peach), vanilla and honey. There is also a whiff of distant bonfire-like smoke and salty sea air.

On the palate, this whisky is initially soft and velvety with the honey, vanilla and caramel (possible a hint of burnt caramel also) again prominent. To contrast this softness there is a lovely note of bittersweet malty cereal, which grips the taste buds, along with some woody spice adding mouth watering dryness (imagine nutmeg especially here). The fruitiness is again there but the green apple is now more reminiscent of dried apple. The raisin note from the nose is joined by further dried fruit characteristics, especially sultanas and a hint of cloved orange. With time a salty note appears (this makes us think of salted caramel) and increases in to the finish, as does a tiny hit of ashy bonfire smoke.

The finish is quite long and dry with the woody spices mixing with a salty briney note. Some sweetness comes through towards the end to add balance and theses come in the form of malted barley sugars, honey and dried fruits.

What's the verdict?
We tasted this Clynelish Distillers Edition at a recent event showcasing some of the Distillers Edition range and this proved to be the real crowd pleaser of the bunch, even when put next to its more illustrious stable mates. Clynelish has always seemed a little under rated to us and this whisky proves the point – it was the crowd’s favourite whisky but the distillery that they knew least about. This is a very good whisky and one that more people should discover.

1 comment:

Whisky Waffle said...

I tried this for the first time the other day and was very impressed. It's very rich in flavour (cheers Olorosso) and with great length and complexity. No idea where I'll be able to track down a bottle, though...