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Whisky Review #96 – Clynelish 19 YO (The Water Margin)

We love the independent Taiwanese whisky labels for their interesting designs. Most of them showcase either the Chinese history or myths that we enjoy as kids. We found this particular bottle in The Malt, Taipei, and it is a label of a character from The Water Margin ( 水滸傳 ), one of the four Chinese Literature Classic. The expression is a Clynelish 19 years old, bottled by The Whisky Agency for The Drunken Master. It is distilled in 1997 and bottled in 2016. Matured in a hogshead, this expression has only 108 bottles.

How does it taste? Let’s find out!

Tasting Notes:

Colour: Dull Gold
ABV: 57.1%

Nose: Fresh vanilla pods, hints of coconuts and fresh grass in a spring meadow waft gently to the nose first. Sweet green fruits surface after a short while, and gentle spice flirts in and out from the background. (18/20)

Palate: Fresh grass, sweet vanilla and peppery spice are in the forefront while coconut lingers in the middle of the palate, bursting forth as the liquid goes down to the throat. (16/20)

Finish: Medium finish with sweet vanilla stays for a while. Spice takes over too soon and then it gets oaky and remains so till the end. (17/20)

Body: The whisky is not as balanced as I hope it would be. The palate is disappointing considering the excellent nose we got. The finish was also too oaky and borders on a slight bitterness. Overall not a bad Clynelish but lacks the waxy feel of a typical Clynelish. (32/40)

Total Score: 83/100

Comments:

Geek Flora: “I was quite disappointed with the palate because the nose promised such excitement. It is also not the typical waxy Clynelish that I like so much.”

Geek Choc: “Well, it is not as tasty as some of the other Clynelish that I have tried before, but I don’t think it is a bad dram. Overall, it is easy to drink and complex enough to enjoy.” 

 

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    Whisky Review #91 – Clynelish 1995 Waxing Lyrical

    Wemyss Malts is an underrated independent bottler with some great bottles. They are not quite popular in Singapore yet, but in some countries like Taiwan, Wemyss is very well received. Flora was first introduced to Wemyss by our friend, Brendan, over at The Single Cask. Since the first tasting, we have tried more than a fair number of their expressions.

    The particular expression for this review is one of those bottles which impressed us greatly. It is a 22 years old Clynelish; distilled 1995 and bottled 2017. It has an outturn of only 240 bottles. We like Clynelish well enough, but we do not usually go out of our way to try or buy a bottle. We have a couple of bottles at home, but it is not our first go-to distillery. However, after tasting this expression, we went all out to find a bottle of it to bring home with us. It was impressive.

    How so? Let us find out.

    Tasting Notes:

    Colour: Pale Gold
    ABV: 55.7%

    Nose: Sweet tropical fruits, red apples, sweet pears and hints of melons come quickly. As it develops, pineapples notes began to surface in the background. Vanilla cream develops and forms a beautiful nose together with the other fruity notes. Spice hides in the background, rearing its head now and then. (19/20)

    Palate: Gentle spice and sweet fruits envelope the palate completely. The sweet fruity notes turn into red apples, sweet pears and butterscotch. The spice goes to the back and provides a gentle warmth all the way down the throat. (17/20)

    Finish: Medium finish with a little burning spice at first but it mellows out beautifully. Sweet notes linger for a while before some oakiness takes over. (17/20)

    Body: Well balanced dram that is extremely flavourful and complex. The sweetness complements beautifully with the spice and makes it an enjoyable dram to nurse after a long day. (36/40)

    Total Score: 89/100

    Comments:

    Geek Flora: “I love this Clynelish! It is fruity and yet the spice adds a challenging dimension to the dram. It encourages me to sip and savour this dram slowly, instead of drowning it out in one gulp!”

    Geek Choc: “I do not like spice, especially the kind that burns! However, this Clynelish surprises me with its lovely complexity. The spice mellows quickly and is always in harmony with the sweetness of the fruits.” 

     

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      Whisky Review #81 – Clynelish 1970 31 Years Old (OMC)

      Clynelish – a name that resounded with Brora – is an underrated whisky that whisky drinkers do not talk about. The irony of the phenomenal is the fact that Brora was the old Clynelish. How? The original Clynelish distillery completed construction in 1819 and ran its stills until 1967. The original distillery closed as the owners built a new distillery for Clynelish. Unfortunately, (or should we say, fortunately), there was a shortage of peated whisky for blending in 1969, and hence, Diageo reopened the old distillery, renamed it Brora and distilled a heavily peated spirit between 1969 to 1973.

      This expression of Clynelish is exquisite. Distilled in September 1970, it slept in an oak (bourbon?) cask for 31 years before getting a finish in a sherry cask for a minimum of 6 months. Bottled in September 2001, it is officially a 31 years old whisky at cask strength. It was so exciting to try it finally!

      Let’s check out the review!

      Tasting Notes:

      Colour: Gold
      ABV: 48.4%

      Nose: Liquorice and mineral notes lead the way while caramel, vanilla and sweet barley lurk in the background. Spice moves around like a roving circus on a good day. It has a fascinating nose. (18/20)

      Palate: Ooo…this is oily! There is a perfect combination of minerals and spice at the first sip. The second sip reveals liquorice and sweet barley as they coat the palate. Caramel and vanilla come last, completing the different layers of flavours together in a complex and excellent mouthfeel. (18/20)

      Finish: Long and tannic like a lovely wine. Sweet barley, caramel and vanilla close the finish perfectly, bringing the complexity to a satisfying conclusion. (18/20)

      Body: Superb balanced dram! I love the touch of sweet barley that lingers on and on from the palate to the finish. The sherry influence is evident in the liquorice nose that appears consistently in the nose, palate and finish. This expression seems to support my theory that bourbon-matured whisky finished in sherry casks are some of the best whiskies around. (38/40)

      Total Score: 92 points

      Comments:

      Geek Flora: Oh my God, this is possibly one of the best Clynelish that I had tried. The other Clynelish expression that I love is from Douglas Laing’s XOP series Clynelish 1995 21 Years Old. 

      Geek Choc: Hmm…this is a very good Clynelish to be sure. The flavours blend so well together that I think I might have fallen in love without knowing it!

       

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