Clynelish 13, 1995 (Signatory CS)

sigclynelish13Yet another Clynelish. This is from one of those sexy (but not always practical) Signatory CS decanters. Let’s get right to it:

Clynelish 13, 1995 (Signatory, 58.2%, Sherry Butt; from my own bottle)

Nose: Resinous and vegetal (celery?) and quite briny. No raisins or brown sugar or any of the usual signposts of a sherry cask. With a little bit of time the nose becomes almost oppressively salty for a bit but it passes and the nose settles down. Much closer to the Exclusive Malts 15 yo, 1997 now, with a light savoury note. The piney/resinous note never quite goes away. I tried very hard to find some wax, but could not. Ah, but there it is with water (or did I just Jedi mind trick myself?). A few drops of water dial the piney note back a bit and allow darker/sweeter notes to emerge: dried apricots, fruit leather. Now this smells like a whisky matured in a sherry butt, but the sherry notes are still quite restrained. The salt keeps washing in and out.

Palate: A little hot, but quite closed. The primary impression is of salt. Let’s see what water does…. Water makes it a little sweeter, brings out some fruit and generally makes me feel less like a deer at a salt lick. Not quite sure exactly what the fruit is–a hint of lime zest, i think.

sigclynelabelFinish: Ah yes, there’s the sherry; loads of salt too. Water doesn’t really change the finish too much–the lasting impression remains that of salt, but with time the limey note that emerged on the palate begins to hang around as well.

Comments: I’m not quite sure what to make of this. I was intrigued to try a single ex-sherry cask of Clynelish, but this is not particularly sherried. That is not a complaint: aggressive sherried notes can lead to a sort of regression to the mean where malts begin to taste alike and like generic sherried malts. This is still very Clynelish. And sulphur-phobes should note that there’s not the slightest hint of sulphur here. Frankly, I had a bit of a hard time working the palate out, and am going to have to come back to it a few times before I get a decent sense of it.

Initial Rating: 84 points, but it may change.

3 thoughts on “Clynelish 13, 1995 (Signatory CS)

  1. Almost a month later, the sherry is now very apparent on the nose: dark, rich raisins, woody maple syrup. And the palate is no longer as closed as it was a month ago: raisins, brown sugar, pine, salt. Still not a sherry bomb, but far more expressive tonight, and certainly not a salt bomb tonight. Tonight I’d give it 87 points.

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  2. Pouring out a sample tonight from the last third of the bottle, this smelled rather nice and so I poured myself a nice measure of it as well. And, indeed, I really liked it. Not very Clynelish really (blind, I’d probably guess Springbank) but a very nicely balanced sherried malt.

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  3. I just had the sample – and I really liked it. I didn’t find much sherry in it, it’s more like a really good ex-bourbon, teen-aged whisky. I preferred it with water (maybe you did too, from the notes). I love the sweetness on the background of a solid body with malt notes. It reminded me of the Cask Strength Collection Miltonduff and the Royal Brackla from Binny’s. I’d give it closer to 87, even more if it wasn’t this hot without water.

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