It’s been over four years ago that I wrote one of my favourite blog posts. Its central subject was the Clynelish Select Reserve, although I didn’t review it at the time. Not long before my blog post, Diageo reveiled the first iteration of the Select Reserve, which signaled the first time ever Diageo included a no age statement whisky in their Special Releases. The NAS debate back than was much more heated than it is now.
Save to say, it was quite a controversial release at the time. At 600 euro a bottle, it still is controversial four years later. We do know the youngest component of the Clynelish Select Reserve is 16 years old. All major cask types where used for maturation, but that’s about all we know really. Diageo has since released other NAS whisky’s as part of their Special Releases, including another edition of the Clynelish Select Reserve, as well as a Cragganmore. All of them are still readily available in shops world wide.
And now, finally, I’ve had the chance to taste the original Select Reserve myself.
Clynelish Select Reserve (54.9%, OB ‘Special Release’, 2014)
Nose: A tad shy, but certainly Clynelish-esque and in the mold of that Distillery Exclusive bottling I mentioned earlier, yet more gentle and somewhat more mature. Granny Smith apples, dry apple cider, as well as sweet barley notes and whispers of peach and vanilla. Hints of melted butter, as well as lime and a touch of lemon zest. Slightly mineral, not as waxy as you might expect. Taste: This is where the Select Reserve really starts to shine, and also where the older Clynelish plays more of a starring role, I think. Creamy, quite fruity, and with a hint of beeswax as well. Super complex? No. Pretty tasty though. Bananas, grapes, some grape fruit too. Slightly more aggressive and spicy after I added water. Finish: Lingering spices and fruits. Some sweetness.
Undeniably a very good whisky, although still hopelessly overpriced. The fact that there are so many still available in shops says it all. Indeed, I’d much rather go on a short trip to Scotland, and buy the Clynelish Distillery Exclusive bottling when I’m there.