Yes, Tuesday is usually a restaurant report day on the blog, but we’re desperately trying to finish the last season of Better Call Saul before we leave for India and I didn’t have time last evening to resize all the images for my first restaurant report of 2023. And so here is the second review of the trio of releases by Single Malts of Scotland that I am reviewing this week.
The series began yesterday with a young Laphroaig that was fine enough but didn’t really impress me—especially relative to the price. This Clynelish—which also bears the appellation “Reserve Casks”—is three years older but was a little bit cheaper ($65 to the Laphroaig’s $80, I think). I guess there’s no Islay peat tax to be paid here. Like the Laphroaig it’s not a single cask; this is a vatting of three bourbon barrels. Let’s hope the barrels were not over-active and that this proves to be a better value.
Clynelish 10, 2011 (48%; Single Malts of Scotland; ex-bourbon barrels; from a bottle split)
Nose: Mild, sweet orchard fruit (pear, apple), with a bit of oak spice and some cream. A bit sweeter as it sits with berries of some kind. Some cereals in there too along with a touch of pineapple. The sweetness gets more floral with more time. No real change of interest with more time or water.
Palate: Leads with the oak and it’s just a bit too bitter for my liking. The fruit expands as I swallow. Decent drinking strength. The texture is richer than on the Laphroaig but it’s not matched by depth of flavour, as the oak remains the top note with every sip and the fruit from the nose never quite emerges. I’m afraid the oak just seems to get more astringent and more dominant with each sip and it also gets more grainy (i.e reminiscent of grain whisky). Let’s see if water fixes things here. A little bit—the oak gets pushed back a bit and some citrus emerges (bitter lime peel). Less fortunately, there’s also a talcum powder note now.
Finish: Medium. The oak lingers and slowly fades, picking up more of a mentholated tingle as it goes. As on the palate with water.
Comments: A promising start on the nose but it never quite delivered on that promise. Three barrels in the vatting: I’m guessing at least one was too talkative. Okay, will the last member of the trio be the saving grace? You’ll have to wait till Friday to find out.
Rating: 80 points.