Thanks to /u/Scotchguy_TO for these two drams as part of a tasting
We’re now seeing things slowly open up, which has implications for billions of people. It’s a time to have patience, understand the impact the pandemic has had on everyone, both for themselves and for their ability to socialize once more.
We took the moment? Great, because I’m excited to talk about something personal and awesome that happened to me, and I’d feel terrible sharing good news without noting there’s rough things happening, mostly due to my own mental illness.
I got to go to a whisky tasting!
All of us are triple vaccinated and were safe and didn’t have the typical orgy afterward, just to be safe.
What do you start a tasting with? Of all the things that take the most time thinking about and discussing and all that, the order is surprisingly high on the list.
For this one we decided a Clynelish would start and a Clynelish would be third. What was second, I hear you ask? Not a Clynelish, thus it’s not in this review. Four through… Mother of God, I did 12? Thank goodness I had two full palate cleansers through the day.
I’m not that “up” on Clynelish whisky. My lack of ability to taste wax means I’m not usually picking them up. If I can, I’ll try to fix that later this year (being up on Clynelish, not fixing the ability to eat wax, I don’t know where your candles went).
However my buddy, who does drink Clynelish, mentioned that the whisky has had some recent changes to the spirit. You can try and assume if this is the case, why this is the case, or whatnot. I’m here to try two Clynelish from 2007-2008 (they were basically the same year) and see if I notice.
So let’s dive in, shall we?
Clynelish Secret Highland 12 2007 The Whisky Agency wasn’t labeled as Clynelish, it was labeled as a Secret Highland. I was informed that people believe it to be Clynelish. Thus the name there. If you feel different, please write a slow letter to some address about it and I’ll know, somehow.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
Price: $240.00 CAD
Cask type: Hogshead
Colour: 5Y 9/3
Nose: Ethanol, honey, pear
Wow that’s raw alcohol right off the top, which is a surprise given the low amount of booze after the angel’s went to town on this barrel.
Given some time, you get more honey and pear notes. Actually you get only that. I’m wondering if this has much to it.
Taste: Honey, earth, mineral, apricot
Luckily the taste shows off a bunch of honey, and as someone who enjoys a lot of honey, to the point where I always have honey and backup honey in the house. It’s somewhere between floral and sweet and that’s my jam, other than my actual jam.
Oh and it’s balanced by mineral and tart fruit, so that works too.
Finish: Earth, floral, dusty, herbal
Nice finish. Nothing too insane, but it ties into the taste well, shows off slightly different dimensions of the profile, and adds some musty/dusty notes.
Conclusion: If you’re looking for what we used to think of as the quintessential daily dram or palate opener, this is it. Did it blow my mind? No. Supposedly (again, haven’t been having many new Clynelish lately) the Ethanol/industrial note at the start is a mainstay of the whisky now. Again, first time having it, can’t say that for certain.
I didn’t actually mind the nose too much. It wasn’t too rough after giving it a few minutes more to open up, and I like honey and pear. The rest of the whisky was nice to sip on and felt balanced. Is it going to blow your mind? No, but it’s a fine whisky for what it is, and makes me interested in seeing what might have changed with the distillery.
Clynelish 12 2008 Signatory Vintage The Un-Chillfiltered Collection is a cask strength version from the Signatory Vintage subset of whiskies that I typically don’t venture into. Why not? I like my whisky cask strength, and they typically aren’t. It was picked out for Kensington Wine Market (an alcohol store in Alberta).
So is this helpful for your shopping? Not really, unless you live near Alberta, Canada, and can find this. But is it helpful as a contrast and compare to the above and continue to test the idea of new Clynelish having different flavours? You bet your mother’s ashes it is! Also sorry about your mom.
Taste good? Maybe? Let’s see, shall we!
Price: € 85
Vintage: March 1, 2008
Bottled: July 21, 2020
Cask type: Bourbon barrel
Cask Number: 800112
Number of bottles: 214
Bottled for: Kensington Wine Market
Colour: 5Y 9/4
Nose: Mineral, cooked pear, violets, grass
Much nicer nose this time, unless you love the smell of gas in the morning, in which case… maybe start getting used to not that? Because of gestures wildly all of this.
Nice vegetal/grass/floral mix going on here, good balance on the mineral and cooked pear, and very inviting, like me after all the drams I had.
Taste: Banana, mineral, wood, herbal, floral
Wow, nice tropical/funk note, good herbal, less floral, but still a good mix. It’s like it’s trying to be complex, and could have been given a few more years, but was pulled early. Probably to avoid it getting rough (totally not foreshadowing anything here).
Very drinkable. Very easy to have and want more. Which the British call “Moreish”, proving that the great English writers were flashes in the pan and there will no longer be any moving forward.
Finish: Gravel, bitter tea, wood, caramel, green banana
Wow that finish goes long, is bitter, and seems to hate us. Water brings out bitter fruit. I don’t know if that’s better. Holy crap.
Conclusion: Love the nose, love the taste, and holy damn what did I do to the finish’s mother to deserve this amount of bitterness? Okay, maybe they pulled it because the finish was getting badder than Leeroy Brown, and he’s the baddest in Town (or so I’ve heard).
One thing I can say is I’m loving the floral flavours that Clynelish is getting. But I already loved Lowlands, so this is playing right into my bias (save that rough finish).
So if you’re someone who can breeze past an aftertaste, then I’d like to bring you to a Leaf’s game. Also this whisky may be for you!
Scotch review #1499-1500, Highland review #243-244, Whisky Network review #2204-2205