For the very first time in history you could score a hand-filled bottle at Clynelish during the Highland Whisky Festival 2019. That had everything to do with the fact that the distillery celebrated its 200th Anniversary. The original Clynelish was founded in 1819. Hence it sold out pretty quickly too, but a friend of mine was there and thus able to get me a bottle. Hurray! I love this whisky community. Together with this one, Clynelish also released a 20 Year Old at the exact same ABV. That cannot be a coincidence, can it?
The nose is surprisingly soft and bursts with vanilla and wine gums. Then I get a lot of apples and oranges in a jute bag, honey and beeswax. Hint of fresh peach and mango. Very fruit, candy-like and simply very good! Quite mineral too. Just a tad of white pepper. But you wouldn’t say it was bottled at such a high ABV. If you add a teaspoon of water, it becomes more creamy and the fruit shines more. The vanilla diminishes, which I think is better.
On the palate, it is quite candy-like as well, although a feisty peppery note appears immediately. Yes, the ABV now certainly rears its head. Phew! This needs water. Then the beeswax comes to the fore, some quinine appears and the oranges turn bitter. But all for the better, really. Lemon juice kicks in. Some Gyproc appears, while the wine gums do an encore. A hint of honey and Turkish Delight. Much better!
Undiluted the finish is very long, but also very spicy. Too much so, in fact. With water, the finish is simply grand. At the death a salty edge appears.
It’s pretty good neat, but becomes outstanding with water. And believe me, it can cope with quite a few drops. It was sold at the festival for some 150 pounds, but on the secondary market you’ll easily need to fork over double that amount.