A few months ago the Toronto Whisky Society had a tasting. I originally was the person walking through each of the whiskies and having a fun time.
Then I got sick, and then I started class, and there may have been a year-end and perhaps an audit in there and probably a 4-hour exam.
But you really don’t give a shit about that. You want to hear about the whisky. It’s Clynelish 8 2008 Signatory Vintage Collection – Cask Strength. This was picked by Binny’s, is a single cask, and is that thing I typically don’t go after: An ex-bourbon Clynelish. I’ll be honest. I originally asked for a different whisky than this one.
But then someone, who was supplying the whisky from his collection, mentioned that this tasted peated. That it may be a test of Brora. We have no proof of that, of course, but regardless I was interested.
So let’s see how this tastes, shall we?
Price: No longer available
Distilled on 01.03.2008
Bottled on 20.07.2016
Matured in: Bourbon barrel
Cask No: 800076
Number of bottles: 235
Colour: 10Y 9/4
Nose: Pear, oak/vanilla, red licorice, melon, papaya
Okay, it starts normal like a Clynelish. It’s strong, so that’s there. But then this interesting spice comes in. I can see where the thought that this is some sort of pseudo Brora could be coming from.
Water makes this more tropical. It’s quite strong too.
Taste: Papaya, brown sugar, pear, cloves/cinnamon, grilled banana
More tropical, some brown sugar, and aspects of what I’d assume was peat or char from the ex-Bourbon barrels. Water brings out banana.
I’m really pushing to find the wax here. Just a note: I’m really, really bad at noting wax in things. Less floral and more fruity than other Clyenlish here.
Finish: Bitter wood, banana, cocoa, cereal, honeydew melon
The finish has this very bitter, woody note. If you can get past that, you’ll get more of the less sweet but still fruity aspects.
Conclusion: I missed the wax? I’m not so great at Clynelish. Yeah, felt bad about that. Oh well, I’ll keep trying.
My flaws aside, this was an interesting Clynelish. I was expecting the standard cereal/honey/stone fruit notes. Instead we had more spice, more earth, and more bitter aspects.
It’s quite the nerdy dram. It’s hot as hell, needs time, and takes to water quite well. You get the interesting side of it from the spices. I don’t know if generally everyone would like it.
What I do think is I can see where the question about Brora comes in. I wouldn’t be surprised if a peated malt went through before this. I’d also be pleasantly surprised to find out it was the cask being quite burnt.
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