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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Clynelish 23 year old 1995 Single Cask Nation, cask 8660

Monday's light-to-medium-tinged refill cask Clynelish surprised with all of its sherry influence. Today's Clynelish is two years older and from a second-fill sherry butt, but is dark dark brown, looking like it was one of those refill casks sandblasted with fortified wine. So I'm going to set my dials to Sherry Blob.

On a note that's only interesting to me, I tried to get in on a bottle of this whisky three times. The first two sent to me were smashed by the courier. The third survived. At least I already know how it smells.

Distillery: Clynelish
Ownership: Diageo
Region: Highlands (North)
Bottler: Single Cask Nation
Age: 23 years (September 1995 - March 2019)
Maturation: 2nd fill Oloroso butt
Cask number8660
Limited bottling: 580
Alcohol by Volume: 52.4%
Chillfiltered? No
Caramel Colorant? No
(from a bottle split)

The nose is soaked with almond extract. It takes a few minutes before the rest appears: cocoa, metal, and mustard seed with hints of blossoms of brine. Some mango juice and dunnage notes appear after 30 minutes. No prunes nor raisins. Plums and cherry lollipops lead the palate, followed by blueberries, pecans and tart limes. A curious mix of Worcestershire sauce and fennel floats in the background. Less sweet than the palate, the finish shows more pepper and nuts. Lots of plums remain, though.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or < 1 tsp of water per 30mL whisky
The nose gets LOUDER. Cherries, carob, toffee, mocha, amaretto and lime juice. Hints of barrel char and vanilla bean in the back. The palate begins with pipe tobacco, brine and plum jam. Tart limes and a touch of herbal bitterness keep it from getting too sweet. Then it gets sweeter in the finish, with cherry candy and plum wine. Bits of salted almonds and bitter herbs show up here and there.

Though this was indeed another sherried thing, it also proved to be a quirky adventure. And I liked it a lot. Its nose lobbed a lot at my nose, yet it worked, and worked better when neat. When neat, the palate's fresh plumminess was a highlight, but I appreciated how its elements came together and mellowed out once diluted. The whisky was zany enough to interest me in purchasing a bottle, had it cost $100 less. I understand its pricing is comparable to the rest of the market for Clynelish at this age, so I'm happy to let it pass me by.

Availability - Mostly sold out
Pricing - $250-$300
Rating - 88

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