This is the oldest sherried Clynelish I have yet happened upon, and as I think about it, it’s the oldest Clynelish of any kind I’ve yet happened upon (the previous oldest was this lovely 28 yo from 1982 bottled by Speciality Drinks in their Single Malts of Scotland line). Will it be as good as that one or only as good as the last SMWS Clynelish I reviewed (this solid but unexciting 23 yo)? Let’s get right to it and find out.
(Oh, the SMWS dubbed this one “Pomanders in a Lady’s Parlour”.)
Clynelish 29, 1984 (56%; SMWS 26.102; refill shery butt; from a bottle-split)
Nose: Honey and apple juice followed by a pleasant grassiness (not metallic or astringent) and then some wax accompanied by a minerally prickliness. The sherry influence is really restrained: just a bit of toffee and a mild raisiny sweetness. Gets more floral as it goes and there’s some dusty wood too now. With more time the fruit wakes up: lemon, hints of apricot. With a few drops of water it gets even more floral and sweet (with some cream too now).
Palate: Not a lot of sherry here either, at least to start. Instead there’s a big whack of lemon and lemon peel and that prickly, minerally thing. Quite a bit of pepper on the second sip and more lemon peel (and some bitter zest); spicier as I swallow. Sweeter with time but there’s a cloying simple-syrupy quality to it. Water emphasizes the citrus again and then later there’s some sweeter fruit (peach?).
Finish: Medium-long. Wood spice and pepper at first and later the sweeter notes turn a bit metallic as they fade. With water that metallic sweetness goes away.
Comments: This was very nice but it doesn’t come close to the SMOS 28 yo. It also doesn’t taste or nose particularly old and there’s none of the complexity you might expect to see develop in a refill sherry cask after 29 years
Rating: 87 points.
Thanks, as always, to Andrew for facilitating this.