Clynelish is almost universally liked. Diageo might not really promote it as a brand, but independent bottlings from this Highland distillery are hugely popular. This Clynelish 1995 20 Years Old from Signatory Vintage is a good example.
Clynelish 1995 20 Years Old (53,2%, Signatory Vintage, C#8686)
Nose: This is undoubtedly sherried, but in good balance with the Clynelish spirit. There’s honey, milk chocolate and lime zest, but also an impressive amount of candle wax. Finally some orange peel, raisins and cinnamon, with just a whiff of resin. Taste: Leather, earth and tobacco. There’s less room for Clynelish to shine. Quite tannic and pretty spicy. Also some cherries, sour grapes, and honey. Finish: The Clynelish characteristics return. Wax, salt and salmon. Medium in length.
Seriously good whisky, but am I allowed to be a tiny bit disappointed? Knowing this is Clynelish, I don’t judge it unbiased. I judge it based on all the previous Clynelish I’ve tasted. And so far Clynelish is simply more to my liking when from an ex-bourbon cask, or if the sherry influence is more subtle.
This Clynelish doesn’t fit in either category. While it is from a refill sherry butt, the cask was still fairly active, imparting just a bit too much sherry influence on the palate. To my liking, of course. If you’re looking for a good, Highland-style, sherry matured whisky, you can’t go wrong here. If you want Clynelish, then maybe try to find something with a little less sherry influence.