Sunday, 26 February 2012

Whisky Discovery #38

Clynelish 1993 Distillers Edition (46%, OB, Cask No Cl- Br 173-5j, 70cl)
Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky
£45 for 70cl at Cambridge Wine Merchants, Ampthill

Just a wee dram this time
I popped into Cambridge Wine Merchants in Ampthill on the way home from work on Friday to speak to owner Chris Woodhall about the piece I had written about his shop for my blog. Chris asked me if I had time to taste something new (for me) I don’t need asking twice. Chris pulled out a bottle of Classic Malts Clynelish Distillers Edition for me to sample, and poured a dram into a long stemmed nosing glass for me to saviour.

I first tasted a Clynelish a year before I started drinking whisky. I can't remember which expression it was although recall it being an independent cask strength bottling, most likely a Cadenheads. (see "In The Beginning")

The Clynelish distillery is located in the East Coast of the Northern Highlands at Brora. The distillery was founded in 1819, under the name Clynelish,and was established by the Marquis of Stafford who, after marrying into the Sutherland family, became the first Duke of Sutherland.

However, in 1967,  build commenced on a new distillery, also named Clynelish, located just across the road from the original Clynelish. Once completed the former Clynelish distillery was renamed Brora (pronounced ‘Broar-err’) in 1969. The name derives from the Old Norse ‘Bru’r aa’ meaning ‘the bridges river’. Brora closed in 1983, and buildings of the Brora distillery are now used by the new Clynelish distillery as a visitor centre and warehouse.

From the Classic Malts Website:
The Distillers Edition was first released in 2006, it was distilled in 1991 and finished in Oloroso casks. The expression I tasted was distilled in 1993 and so was 18 years old when bottled. Each Distillers Edition expression undergoes a second (or ‘double’) maturation in casks that have previously held a fortified wine.

Nose:   Immediate raisins, in fact rum and raisin. Dried orange peel. In time a clean walnut crispness appears. Water makes it softer, dried cherry, sultana, apricot and some honey. There's still a slightly piercing quality - tangerine and chocolate.
Body:   Silky soft.
Palate: Very sweet with plumped up dried fruit. Sultana cake with thick butter and underneath a bowl of nuts; hazelnut and macadamia. A slightly salty quality cutting through the unctuous texture.
Finish:  Short with a hint of nut-shell bitterness.

So what did I think?
From the quick snifter I had I was impressed, but then I usually am – I just love whisky!

Colour: Rich amber

Nose: I immediately got the sherry and raisins, and the orange peel, a little smoke too? I didn’t have the time to really pick out everything and did not add water.

Palate: The palate is sweet and smooth, even at 46%. You can almost taste the salty sea air that the whisky has been matured in. Rich fruitcake with cherries raisins and sultanas, deliciously mouth filling.

Finish: Definitely short, but satsfying

Again I only had one dram of this in the confines of a busy wine shop, and so did not have the time to sit down and fully appreciate it. Would I add it to my wish list? Has the Pope got a balcony? Yes to both questions, and if you're stuck looking for a gift for me I'd be very happy receiving a bottle of this!

I have just checked my Bible and Guide. It’s not listed in Ian Buxton's 101, and Jim Murray wasn’t that impressed with his tasting of an earlier release. However he did go on to say that it certainly had the potential to be a brilliant whisky with the correct selection of casks. I think Clynelish listened as this latest release was proving very popular.

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