Clynelish week began on Monday with a 23 yo second-fill oloroso butt bottled by the American outfit, Single Cask Nation. That was just excellent. Here now is a 21 yo refill sherry butt bottled by Signatory. Given my stated cask preferences for Clynelish—ex-bourbon and refill sherry over heavier sherry influence—you might expect I’d be likely to like this one even more. But individual casks easily buck trends/preferences. I liked that 23 yo quite a bit more than another Signatory-bottled Clynelish 21, 1995 that I reviewed a few years ago. Where will this one fall? Let’s see.
Clynelish 21, 1995 (51.2%; Signatory; refill sherry butt 8688; from a bottle split)
Nose: Very similar to the 23 yo with leafy notes mixed in with citrus (lemon, makrut lime) and salt. Ginger shows up on the second sniff along with malt and this too has a big Ben Nevis crossover going on. Gunpowder on the third sniff and then some sweet fruit begins to poke out as it sits (peach). Water brightens it up and pushes back the leafy notes; it does also emphasize the (savoury) gunpowder.
Palate: A little flat on arrival here—all the stuff from the nose is here but it lacks oomph. The texture is a bit thin too and then there’s some sherry separation as I swallow. Gets more acidic with each sip and the salt begins to expand as well. The sherry separation sorts itself out. With time there’s some chalk mixed in with the citrus and salt. Okay, let’s see what water does. It pushes back the leafy notes here as well and expands the citrus; adds some body too.
Finish: Long. The citrus and the salt go on for a while with the leafy note popping back out again at the end. As on the palate with water.
Comments: This is quite good too but not on par with Monday’s 23 yo. Really taken by how much both these sherried Clynelishes have in common with sherry cask Ben Nevis. I don’t seem to have noted that similarity in 2017, which might be because I hadn’t yet had very much current era Ben Nevis then. Anyway, I really liked the nose on this but the palate was not at that level.
Rating: 86 points.