The week and month got off to a great start on Monday with the 2021 release of the Springbank 10. Here now is another official distillery release, the Clynelish 14, once one of only two releases from the distillery (along with the rarely seen Distiller’s edition). When I first started drinking single malt whisky this was one of my very favourite whiskies. I remember purchasing a bottle along with one of the Lagavulin 16 from Astor in New York in the mid-2000s. Thanks to Astor’s then seemingly permanent Lagavulin sale I got both for $100. Anyway, though I liked it very much in those days, I’ve lost track of the Clynelish 14 in the last several years. Indeed, I haven’t reviewed it since 2014 and that was of a bottle purchased before 2010. And so I was very happy to take the opportunity to reacquaint myself with a recent release (this is from 2018). Let’s see what it’s like.
Clynelish 14, 2018 Release (46%; from a bottle split)
Nose: This smells like quintessential Scotch whisky with hints of leafy smoke and brine mixed with sweeter notes of both malt and oak. Something darker in the smoke with time and then some dried orange peel. With more time the citrus moves in the direction of lime, the malt moves in the direction of toffee and there’s a metallic note as well. Two drops of water make it surprisingly fruity, pulling out apricot jam to go with the toffee.
Palate: Comes in pretty much as promised by the nose and in that order. Nice texture and good drinking strength. Sweeter with time with the char building behind. This doesn’t really need water but let’s add some in the interests of science. Water softens it up but doesn’t pull out fruit here.
Finish: Medium-long. The sweet notes crest as I swallow and then the citrus and the salt come to the fore. The salt gets the last word with some wet charcoal lingering around the edges. Less salt and char with water.
Comments: Ah, this is very nice. I think I liked it more in days of yore but that probably has more to do with how much less of a frame of reference I had for whisky at the time. Still, this is not a pour I would ever turn down and nor would I be averse to buying a bottle if it were still priced reasonably. The cheapest I see in Minnesota is $70, which I suppose might be good value these days.
Rating: 86 points.