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Monday, August 29, 2016

Birthday Booze: Clynelish 12 year old 1984 Signatory, cask 3089

Continuing with the birthday booze set:

While in Scotland I had a bland ethyl bomb of a 1982 Clynelish, so I moderated my expectations for this 1984 Clynelish.  Still I was hopeful.  My days of trying '80s Clynelish are probably over now, so it would be great if this whisky didn't suck.

Distillery: Clynelish
Ownership: Diageo
Independent Bottler: Signatory
Age: 12 years (June 13, 1984 - June 1997)
Maturation: probably a refill ex-bourbon cask
Cask#: 3089
Alcohol by Volume: 43%

Its color is a light yellow amber.  The nose is loaded with barley and butterscotch, then musty dunnage and mellow stone fruit (I'm thinking apricot) note.  With some air, it develops notes of motor oil, concrete, and agave syrup.  Sorta reminiscent of refill bourbon barrel Springbank.  There's a fascinating duality in the palate that doesn't sound like it should work, but does, wonderfully. Think petrol and brown sugar.  A combination of gooey thick malty pudding, ginger beer, and a little bit of acidic citrus (maybe limes) meets a dry super mineral white white, rocks, and soil.  It has a spicy, tingly finish with forest floor (wet roots and leaves) notes.  It has a hint of honeyed sweetness, but is otherwise dry.  A little bit of fresh ginger in the mix too.  Its length lengthens with subsequent sips.

This has everything I've been trying to find in a contemporary whisky, without much luck (aside from Springbank and perhaps Benromach).  It's earthy and mineral as hell, yet lightly sweet, fruity, and spicy where it needs to be.  The fact that this much character rings out at 43%abv makes it all the more impressive.  It's nearly oakless which may give some the impression that it's nearly new make, but I find it to be subtly matured and toned without tannin and vanillin creeping in.  To my palate, it's terrific whisky.

Availability - ?
Pricing - ?
Rating - 90