When the original distillery was built in 1819 by the future Duke of Sutherland, the quality of Clynelish whisky was so prized that only private customers were supplied.
Over the years, Clynelish has continued to be held in high regard by experts. The great Victorian, Professor George Saintsbury, selected it as a favourite and today’s malt whisky gurus consistently praise its unique combination of North Highland and maritime qualities.
The bottle in comes in is tall and narrow and the color within is a perfect amber. Now, on to the tasting! The bouquet emanates sweet honey, lemongrass, and spice. The alcohol pierces strong in the nose though, and makes you wonder if its crowding out some of the more subtle notes that would be found otherwise. This might be due to it’s alcohol content being on the rather high side at 46% for a scotch of this age. I prefer scotch’s right on the minimum 40% mark, but hey, that's just me.
As soon as this thick, viscous scotch hits your mouth it explodes on your taste buds with flavors of tart fruit and spice. As it burns down your throat the spice and fruit flavors immediately disappear and are replaced with a very subtle smokeyness on the mid-palate, accompanied by a good helping of sea salt. Its a weak smokey taste, almost tea-like, but I personally love it. The finish is a tad short and with it returns the fruitier flavors of before while dropping the saltiness.
Overall, an excellent scotch for 14 years age and at about $65 USD on the open market right on the money. It is definitely going into my usual rotation.