I don’t know about you, but for a long time now I’ve really enjoyed my Clynelish. But while one of my favourite modern Clynelish comes from an ex-sherry cask, I still find that the distillery’s spirit works best in combination with ex-bourbon maturation.
While plenty of people jump on a dark, obviously sherry matured Clynelish, I’m not one of them. Nevertheless, I’m always willing to try and put my hypothesis to the test every once in a while. I give you this 22-year-old Clynelish from Belgian bottler The Nectar (actually sourced from Signatory Vintage).
The colour tells you all you need to know: this is heavily sherried.
Clynelish 1995 22 Years Old (56.7%, The Nectar, 2018)
Nose: Lots of dry-ish sherry notes with a whisper of sulphur. Hints of furniture polish, lots of raisins and whispers of mushrooms and cocoa powder as well. Great moldy, dunnage warehouse quality. There are also more voluptuous, syrupy, almost candy-esque red fruit notes, off-setting some of the drier influences. Taste: There is a slight waxiness, but the classic Clynelish elements struggle to survive the sherry influence. Quite spicy, cloves and nutmeg, followed by strawberry marmalade and hints of orange. Quite intense though, don’t be afraid to add water. It brings out dark chocolate and pralines. Finish: Whiffs or citrus fruits. Pretty long.
While undeniably a fine whisky, I’m still not convinced by the Clynelish and sherry maturation combo. Sure, when you’re doing a vatting please do throw in a few sherry casks to enhance complexity, but in general I find Clynelish shines in ex-bourbon casks, and is somewhat hindered by ex-sherry casks.