So much whisky, so little time | Singapore | Tasting Notes

Clynelish 24 yo 1965/1989 Cadenhead yellow label vs Brora 24 yo 1977/2001 Rare Malts

Someone told me I don’t do enough modern whisky, someone else told me I don’t do enough old whisky. It’s hard to please people!

But Clynelish and Brora are such distilleries where it behooves a whisky enthusiast to seek out and try old and new alike. I may say I find the quality of these old Clynelishes utterly astounding, but at the end of the day it is one’s own tongue that manages the convincing.

By the way, did you know the stills of Brora and Clynelish are identical?


Brora’s stills on closing day (Photo: lauterbacher-tabakstube.de) and Clynelish’s below:

Pot Sills

(Photo – whisky.com)


This particular pairing compares preclosure Clynelish with post reopening Brora. I do not need to tell you it is the same distillery. Did the make undergo many changes after reopening and a whole (famous) period of peating?

Clynelish 1965 24 yo Cadenhead yellow label 46%


Nose Nose: The most ancient cracking furniture lacquer. Also a bit dusty. But under that what freshness – it’s got a bit of green fruit a bit of zing a bit of sap, hard to explain really, but its all meshed up so well with a bit of clean granite. Bit of honey, bit of some phenols. And then now some discreet sherry in the form of a dried purple plus woody tones. Nothing stands out above the rest but there’s so much in the mix, and they’re not jostling to get above each other. That being said it’s certainly not the most wham-bham old Clynelish around.

Taste Palate: Big! And only 46%. Starts off with lots of sooty dirty old engines and lots of thick dry aromatics of old sherry. Lots of  wood too but not in a bad way. Well put together. There’s really a lot going on here. Eventually develops into some thick herbal tea, the western sort..

Finish Finish: Long old wet wood and thick sticky dates. Still some phenols, and fumes.


Still ( I think…) available by the pour at the Auld Alliance, you snooze, you lose.


Brora 24 yo 1977/2001 Rare Malts 56.1%


Nose Nose: This one has something very modern to it already, and little/no sherry wood influence as far as I can tell. Also its really clean next to the 1965. No doubt it’s still good – oily with a thick unctuous weight. Some mix of cold motor oil and nut oil. Paraffin and tree bark, cedar wood and camphor. But also some familiar zestier unripe fruit notes, not fresh zest no no but like ancient salted lime. Compared to the 1965, it’s a lot more ‘discoverable’ but alas also less complex.

Taste Palate: There are peaty suggestions all over. With a dry smoky earthiness, and these bark and camphorous medicine notes again. Really takes off on the tongue and shows itself to be a big weighty dram. All these oils and paraffin and other good musty notes. More salted citrus, and phenols. More salt now.

Finish Finish: Long, salty, dry phenolics, rubbed roots and an ascetic tang.


Who am I kidding, I knew there would certainly be difference, but here you can feel it in the glass and at the tip of the tongue. I don’t mean this as a bad thing mind you. I find this peatier, rawer style very pleasing.


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This entry was posted on December 10, 2016 by in Brora, Clynelish and tagged , .
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