First up, an update on the Name That Bourbon competition: we’ve had well over a thousand suggestions so far, but still no winner – I did tell you that SDL are pretty picky! Thank you all for your entries, especially the heroic Angus and Mike F who have contributed literally hundreds of names. You’re all still in with a shout, though – please, keep those entries coming to me at tim[at]thewhiskyexchange.com. Don’t forget to check out the rules first, mind.
Now, the latest of our 10th Anniversary bottlings has just arrived – a Clynelish 37 year-old bottled at 46%. It’s got high standards to live up to – I really enjoyed our recent Linkwood and Glenglassaugh and the rest of the bottlings have all been bloody good (if we do say so ourselves). You can check out the other bottles we’ve done here.
I tasted this for the first time informally last night in the middle of a rather spectacular session in Sukhinder’s office (other highlights included the famous Rare Malts Brora 22yo and a wonderful 1980s Longmorn 12yo by Gordon & Macphail, but I digress). I enjoyed it last night, but wanted to come at it fresh for my proper tasting notes, so here goes:
Clynelish 37 Year Old / TWE 10th Anniversary / 46% / 70cl
Nose: Classic old Clynelish, with wax (beeswax and candlewax) and honey, my guess is that this is 1972 Clynelish (sorry, that might make me sound cleverer than I am – it’s logic and guesswork, really: this is a 37yo after all, and all the other old Clynelish we’ve done has been 1972, so it’s not much of a stretch). A slight whiff of brine and the faintest trace of smoke (really took time for me to find it); also citrus (orange marmalade, lemon curd) and other fruits (maybe some dried banana), marshmallow; spice (clove), dried ginger, faint pepperiness. These latter combine with hazelnuts and musty old books (and I mean that in a good way), underlining the oak influence.
Palate: The citrus flits through on a bed of creamy malt, then a big surge of honey and burgeoning spice as the oak moves in: powerful, ‘old-fashioned’ (as I think of it) dry oak, lifting the spices. Strong hints of ginger ale, becomes quite peppery, the old books are still there, but not much in the way of smoke. Delicate fruit, polished malt and powerful oak and spices – classic (for me) aged Highland whisky.
Finish: Medium-full length, warm, salty. Faint smoke, residual waxiness, lingering oakspice and brine. Becomes drying, as is natural for drams of this immense age.
Comment: Maybe not quite as knee-tremblingly spectacular as the 32yo Clynelish we bottled early in SMOS history – but then that was one of the best ever (in our humble opinion of course). Still a thrilling treat for fans of a nearly-extinct Highland style. Evokes one of those longhaired ginger cows chewing on a thistle, nodding along to the wail of a distressed bagpipe played by a man with mutton-chop sideburns. This is so old-fashioned that you can almost taste its kilt.
In other news, Bushmills have got all social-meeja-friendly and are offering, via their facebook page, the chance for a lucky punter to spend a month shadowing Master Distiller Colum Egan. If that’s not temptation enough, the winner gets to stay in a plush penthouse and pockets five grand in prize money as well. If that sounds like a good plan, you can enter on the Bushmills Facebook page: http://apps.facebook.com/makeitatbushmills/.