An Amazing Alternative To The Overpriced Clynelish ‘Select Reserve’
Wow, was I disappointed when the price of the new Clynelish ‘Select Reserve’ was announced this past Monday. Please don’t laugh, but I was hoping for a retail price around 150 pound. So the 500 pound price tag was incomprehensible (understatement) and soul crushing (overstatement) for me. So it got me thinking a bit. What else can I do for 500 pound (or approximately 625 euro)? I’ll tell you this: it includes airfare, two nights in a hotel in Inverness, a distillery visit to Clynelish and buying an exclusive NAS-bottle of said distillery. You don’t believe me? Okay, I’ll explain in detail.
Airfare: 107,73 euro
You have to book a couple of months in advance, but lets say I’m flying with Flybe from Amsterdam to Inverness on February 16th 2015. That’s going to cost me 58,53 euro. The return flight two days later will set me back another 49,20 euro.
Rental car: 47,08 euro
I’m just by myself, so I don’t need a big car. A Renault Clio would do just fine, thank you very much.
Hotel: 125 euro
Inverness is a nice city with a fairly vibrant centre. Plenty of pubs and places to eat. I know I’ll have a good time there in the evenings. I’m staying in a guest house with free parking, WiFi (I want to be able to update my blog), free breakfast and within walking distance of the city centre.
Distillery visit: free
After a hearty breakfast at my new favorite guest house I leave Inverness for a nice coastal drive to Clynelish. It takes me less than an hour and a half. Once I’m there, I get a free tour, because I was smart enough to bring my Friends of Classic Malts-passport.
Exclusive distillery bottling: ca. 100 euro
At the distillery shop of Clynelish they sell an exclusive ‘Available Only at the Distillery’-bottling. NAS, but it is at cask strength. I of course buy it, if only as a memento. Turns out it also tastes pretty good. Double whammy!
All the above amounts to 379,81 euro. I’m not even close to spending what a bottle of the new Clynelish ‘Select Reserve’ would cost me. And I still have 245 euro to spare, which I’ll partly use for food and drinks when I’m there. But that still leaves me with enough money to drive past another distillery. I could do a tour at Balblair and buy their hand-filled distillery exclusive. That makes for a very memorable trip including two very exclusive bottles of whisky for the price of one (albeit expensive) bottle of whisky.
Let’s conclude this post with an appropriate tasting note.
Clynelish ‘Available Only at the Distillery’ (57,3%, OB, 7.000 bts.)
Nose: White pepper, cumin, apple juice and cider. The high alcohol volume shines through. It’s waxy and there’s lemon and lime. Fruity but also herbal with mint at the forefront.
Taste: A warming mouthfeel and again very waxy. White grapes but also malty and grainy. That’s probably the lack of age. Salt, pepper and coconut round out the palate. Water brings out a lovely, subtle hint of smoke.
Finish: Wax, minerals, oak. It is drying and long.
A little rough around the edges, sometimes lacks a bit of balance, but it is undeniably good. I can’t tell you if it is just as good as the ‘Select Reserve’, but I’m willing to bet it is far better value for money.
Photo: Flickr/Martyn Jenkins
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.