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Thursday, April 4, 2019

Clynelish Distillery Only, 2018 Edition

I liked this lineup: an indie Clynelish, the sherry cask-finished Distillers Edition and this Distillery Only bottling. There was (SPOILER ALERT) not a bad whisky amongst the three. In fact, they might have been slightly better than the Crown Royal Taste Off.

MAO rescued a bottle of this whisky (please see his review here) from the very homey-looking confines of the Clynelish gift shop last year. He sent me this sample for which I am very grateful.

Stellar idea
So poorly executed
Where is my whisky
According to whiskybase, there was only one previous Distillery Only Clynelish. 7000 bottles of ex-bourbon malt bottled at a hefty 57.3%abv, back in 2008. The distillery took a similar approach in 2018, ex-bourbon and 6000 bottles, but reduced it to 48%abv. No it's not full power, but 48%abv is a good spot for whisky. For 80GBP, though, it'd better be a really good spot.

Distillery: Clynelish
Region: Highlands (North)
Ownership: Diageo
Maturation: bourbon casks
Age: ???
Outturn: 6,000 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 48%
Chillfiltered: Probably not
Colored: Probably not

Ah, no woodwork in the nose. It's bready, with sesame seeds and chives. Dry grass, dry soil. Pears and lemons and dried parsley. A barley note grows with time. The palate is brighter and fruitier than the nose, with loquats (I know it's random but I love loquats), clementines and limes. Some floral esters, ginger powder and a hint of soil. Very little heat. Brown sugar, honey and ginger in the finish, with a little bit of the floral esters and grassy notes.

DILUTED TO ~40%abv, or 1¼ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
Lemons, dry grass, chives, brine and mint leaves on the nose. The palate and finish are identical to the nose. Lemons, mint, grass, herbs, salt.

This is a fine representation of lean Clynelish. Good on Diageo for not squeezing it out of recharred quarter casks. The fruit, grain, salt and herbs work well as a team whether the whisky is neat or diluted. I don't really understand the price (natch), but there aren't many/any cheap distillery-only bottlings in Scotland. As of last year this D.O. was available as part of the 12GBP tasting at the distillery, and that's probably the best way and place to taste it.

Availability - Distillery Only, as per the name
Pricing - £80
Rating - 86

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