Clynelish – 14 Year Old – Single Malt Scotch Whisky | 46% (92 Proof) $49.99 (Here)
Color/Appearance: A light orange amber. Sherry cask are in play here but the use of colorant makes this type of analysis futile. The plain rectangle label with simple modern type echoes some of the Brora labels, giving a visual bridge between these two sister distilleries.
Nose: Tangerines, paraffin, salt, dates, hazelnuts, and sweet red berries, maybe raspberry and cherry. A vanilla almond malted milkshake. All enrobed in a vast web of earthy and floral peat influence. This peat serves to elevate the whole, lifting and heightening the characteristics of the other elements. You are running late for the train. Rushing through the old station, slight hints of coal smoke and cafe aromas try to distract you. Later, settled into your compartment, you feel the warm rush of relaxation and thoughts overtake you as you head home.
Palate: Mango Celyon tea with a wheatgrass style shot of peat moss. Spicy, salty, lively, and fruity. Very balanced with so many nice things going on but none too dominating. It’s as if all the elements from the nose are wrapped up perfectly into a new unified whole.
Finish: A medium long finish with salt and dried fruits evaporating on an oak plank. The finish may be the weakest part of this malt but since the nose and palate are so stellar its not too damaging. The only recourse is to just take another sip.
Overall: Gosh it’s great to get back into some peated whisky. There is something nice about lightly peated expressions such as this. Since peat is such a powerful element, a little bit can go a long way. This can allow all of the other characteristics of the distillery and casks to showcase their influence. A great whisky is here hiding in plain sight. This Clynelish official bottling is really just scratching the surface of what this distillery can do and it is staggering. A fine whisky by any standard, this lightly peated Highland malt is an amazing bargain to boot. I am certainly going to track down some independent versions. Also really makes trying a Brora sound all the more exciting. Clynelish may get overlooked due to it’s use in Johnny Walker blends and on the other end of the spectrum the legendary status of Brora. That would be a serious mistake. I find this 14 year old to be a great all around coastal whisky where you can get lost in the wonderful scents and flavors or just drink it and simply enjoy.