Tasting notes: Clynelish 20-year-old, 200th anniversary

Clynelish 20-year-old

So last May we made a road trip through Scotland and without knowing it we had booked a few days in Dornoch Castle at the same time as the inaugural edition of the Highland Whisky festival. What we also didn’t know at the time was that a Clynelish 20-year-old would be released, bottled for the 200th anniversary of Clynelish. We just happened to be in the right place at the right time. A great opportunity to get hold of such a bottle, especially since I myself am a big fan of Clynelish. It wasn’t cheap, but that’s how it goes with those special releases nowadays.

On the same day that I bought this bottle, I also had a tour at Clynelish with a tasting afterwards. Each dram was complemented with a delicious bonbon and the line-up also included this Clynelish 20-year-old. Unfortunately, I wasn’t really impressed by it at the time. I actually thought it was a little flat and not that special, to be honest. So, time to taste this dram again in the comfort of my own home to see what I think now.

This Clynelish has matured in Bodega sherry casks and refill American oak casks and is bottled at 57.3% ABV. ⁠

Clynelish 20-year-old tasting notes:

Nose: Some lovely wax here, combined with strawberries and raspberries. Sweet oranges and a honey note. Followed by some lemons in the background. Water brings out more of the fruits and apple pie.

Taste: There’s a trace of smoke at first. Followed by a leather note and dark chocolate. A hint of sweet honey. Minerals and somewhat waxy. With water: More towards tobacco, chalk and there’s a hint of caramel.

Finish: The finish is long with lingering spices, such as black pepper and cinnamon. A hint of menthol too. Water doesn’t add much here, except for minerals.

Now that I have tasted this again, I think it’s better than during the tasting I had in May. It was then the last whisky we tasted and that in combination with the chocolate might have influenced the taste of this whisky for me. This Clynelish is actually very well-balanced and far from flat. It also has that typical waxy Clynelish profile. A beautiful dram. 

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