Well, here’s my first whisky review after the apocalypse. A too quick return to business as usual, you might say; but returning to old routines, I’ve had other, more personal reasons to recently learn, is a good way to deal with potentially paralyzing news. Anyway, as I continue to process what this election means and how I should engage with my world in response to it, here’s one of a few reviews that were written in a more innocent time, when I dared believe Sam Wang’s projection of a >99% chance of a Clinton win. We can’t go forward in complacency or denial but we can’t give up on pleasure either. If we do that then Rudy Giuliani wins.
Clynelish 25, 1984 (48.9%; SMWSA 26.67; refill sherry butt; from a sample from a friend)
Nose: Starts out a little closed but then it begins to open up with some beeswax (indeed), a bit of white pepper, some moss and some damp earth. Gets sweeter as it sits with baked apple and pear (in the distance). Water sort of damps everything down
Palate: Much sweeter arrival here: indistinct berries (yes) and candy sugar. The sweetness leads in the second sip too but now there’s some baked pear and some pastry crust to go with it as well. Heading towards oak and pepper as I swallow. With more time there’s a bit of citrus to cut the sweetness but it’s still very sweet. But wait, the longer it sits the more the citrus expands and the more balanced this becomes; more wax too now and spicier oak. The texture improves as well—more depth now. Water knocks the balance off again.
Finish: Medium-long. The oak and pepper continue as the sweeter notes dissipate. Not much change here with time.
Comments: I don’t know the last time I had a Clynelish that tasted this sweet as this one did to start. At first it was just a little too cloyingly sweet for me on the palate (which I don’t remember thinking in August, but I also don’t remember what we drank before it). But time and air did wonders for it. A reminder to not drink your whisky too quickly or to make too judgments too quickly. Still, I preferred the delicacy and the greater fruitiness of the SMOS 28 yo, 1982. And it was much better without water.
Rating: 89 points.
Thanks to Tom E. for the sample!