Located just north of Inverness, Clynelish has been operating at its current location for almost 50 years. Curiously, the distillery provides a great deal of the spirit that is used in Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve and only has two commercial products, a Distiller’s Edition and this 14 year offering (there is a “distillery only” bottle available on sight that is cask strength). With such a narrow single malt offering and so much of their output going to blended use, what sort of exploration will this highland malt offer? Trivia: the cat you see on the bottle is the Scottish Wildcat.
Age: 14 years
Nose: Sweet, hot, cherry, beeswax
Palate: Black pepper, salt, oak, honey, taffy
Finish: Spice, black pepper
Comments: Water is needed to take away the heat and allow the tastes the chance to come forward.
Adam – There are definitely things to like about this whisky (provided you add some water to take the edge off). There’s some pleasant spice and sweet mix in the front of the mouth, with a short and fast finish. Definitely a good summer Scotch. I would certainly not turn this away if you bought me a glass, but this doesn’t ring any bells with me as being that special.
Kate – Makes me want to chill on a beach and sip this all day. It was hot on the nose like a sun-and-sand scented candle. Sweeter with water. A melon-like freshness. Finishes warm in the back of the mouth.
Meghan – This is a pretty whiskey. It’s a bit darker in the bottle than most of our previous selections and pours out to a deep gold. The nose is hot so you’ll want a drop or two of water to calm it and bring out the beeswax and melon scents. Clynelish is what some could call oily but I prefer to say is silky. It has a smooth and luxurious mouth feel with just a touch of oak. It has sweet almost mead-like flavor on the front palate. But then it gives you a delightful twist with a punch of cracked black pepper. The sweetness makes me feel it’s probably a hot weather scotch but I’ll be interested to see how that intriguing finish holds up against the crispness of autumn. And yes, Minnesota does get autumn here, most years.