This year there have been a few changes at the Diageo distilleries for the benefit of whisky tourism. For example, nowadays you can take photos in the distilleries and there have even been a few single cask distillery exclusives, even though this was during festivals for now. Among other things, a Mortlach 1999 was released during the Spirit of Speyside festival, but there was also this Clynelish 2009 that was exclusively available at the new Highland Whisky Festival.

So it happened that for the first time in Clynelish’s history you could buy a hand-filled bottle, a single cask release which was bottled at cask strength. And that made me very happy, being a big Clynelish fan! So let’s go to review, shall we?

This Clynelish has matured in a 1st Fill Ex-Bourbon American Oak Hogshead and it’s bottled at 57.3% ABV. Needless to say, it was completely sold out within a few hours.

Clynelish 2009 tasting notes:

Nose: Plenty of vanilla, but mixed with minerals. Tum tum (A Dutch candy?) It’s quite sweet alright. Caramel fudge. Yellow apples and bananas. A slight waxy note. later also orange peels. Water brings out: Butter cookies. Lemons. And less vanilla.

Taste: Vanilla again. And it’s quite creamy. Caramel. Oranges and a hint of honey. It’s spicy too, a touch of cinnamon, peppers. Minerals here as well. Water: Much softer. Adds lemons. The spices are more in the background. And it becomes fresher.

Finish: The finish is mid-long. With spices, mostly cloves. Minerals. Caramel. And somewhat salty.

Very cool that there is finally a hand-filled Clynelish. Hopefully, more will follow! As for this whisky, it’s a nice dram. Although the finish is perhaps a bit disappointing and a bit too spicy, so it loses a point here. Furthermore, there is much to be gained in both nose and taste, but let it stand for a while. So that the flavours can develop. Water ensures that it becomes softer and milder. But those spices still linger in the finish.