Thanks to /u/throwboats for pouring me a sample of this dram.
Back again with another Rum Cask. For those of you who don’t follow me like I’m made of candy and orgasms, I specifically hunt down rum casks. Part of me thinks that rum casks may have had a bad rap.
Why? Well, let’s point out that if they were in Cuba they couldn’t end up being used if you want to sell to the US. Which seems to be a big barrier, what with Cuba making some nice tasty rum. Let’s add to that rum casks seem to follow the wine cask method and are used until they leak like a siv.
So we have a situation where casks are being used over and over and fewer casks than normal. So some of the whiskies that end up in these rum casks are rolling the dice on their quality.
Which brings us to Clynelish 15 James MacArthur’s Fine Malt Selection. James MacArthur is a 25-year-old independent bottler that has a variety of lines, selling both cask strength and single cask bottlings. From what little I can learn about this one is that is was aged completely in a rum cask. What country? No idea. What kind of rum? Stop asking questions and drink it.
Sounds good, let’s see how it tastes, shall we?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Cask Type: Rum oak cask
Colour: 7.5Y 8/8
Nose: Mango, floral, lemon, gravel, caramel
Tropical fruit. We’ve discussed recently how I have a hard time with wax and wax notes, so I’m a little self-conscious stating there was none here. So I’ll say instead that I didn’t pick up any.
I did pick up the floral and lemon of Clynelish. Then some rough earth notes. This may go the route of other rough rum casks.
Taste: Lemon candy, cinnamon, honeydew
Big Clynelish sweet lemon flavour. Dominates. This must have been a beat-up rum cask or one that didn’t give up the rummy goodness. Just a bit of melon here. Not too different from the standard at this point. Maybe a bit less wax? But again, I’m not good at that, so let’s skip over that part.
Finish: Caramel, lemon curd, wax, brine, herbal
Hey! Wax! I’m not (totally) broken!
Finish is where this seems to wake up. More and more of the standard Clynelish is coming through, and any and all rum cask is missing.
Conclusion: Buy the standard Clynelish 14 over this. Yes, there is a difference in my notes, and yes, you’ll find each one different. I found this version a bit less interesting than the standard. Like the standard Clynelish notes were fighting the rum cask and winning, but at a loss for what makes them interesting.
The taste is lacking. There are other more interesting rum casks out there. This isn’t a bad whisky in any way, it’s just a weaker version of something you can buy anywhere. I enjoyed what the nose was hinting at, and want someone else to take a good rum cask and try again.
Scotch review #999, Highland review #167, Whisky Network review #1567