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Clynelish 12 yo Di Chiano vs Clynelish 17 1997 / 2015 Hunter Laing # HL11236

Lagavulin is my favourite distillery, but Clynelish is a hair’s breadth away. Unlike Lagavulin or some of the smaller Diageo distilleries which have a core range or else an output small enough that most of the distillate is sold as single malt, Clynelish is a well known blending behemoth of a distillery. Yes there is the basic 14 yo and the distiller’s edition and a couple of annual releases, but the bulk of Clynelish goes to blending, and then a sizable portion ends up with independent bottlers. In this case, Clynelish actually benefits from the inattention of its owner, as I think it expresses itself best in well used ex-bourbon barrels.

So ok I’m going to start with a Clynelish that is not really Clynelish when we say Clynelish, but we know is the original Clynelish. So we aren’t exactly comparing apples to apples, but whatever, I’ve been looking for an excuse to have this one so..

Clynelish 12 yo Di Chiano 43% ~70s bottling

 Nose: Brora. Subtle piles of coal and gritty cold firepits, a tiny bit of menthol, just some engine grease. It’s a bunch of almosts that come together for a subtle nose. Waxed apples. Some white wine and chalkiness which is of a profile that reminds me of a 1995 Clynelish. On the whole every pure and crystalline and not without some phenolic charm, and like what one might expect if the fabulous 57% Italian imports were watered down.

 Palate: Again subtle, the strength is a pity because it’s still great, and also retained some thickness of texture. Some really big phenolic hints here, as if on the verge of being peaty – hints of ash and linger of coal smoke in still air. It’s still a sharp cutting profile but the minerals are earthier and grittier than suggested on the nose. Ancient dusty candles on a grimy work bench. And also the low strength makes it somewhat rounder and well..  more flaccid than its glorious cousins.

 Finish: Medium long, dry and mineralled, still phenolic and also still has a bit of that cutting edge.

The profile is great, just..  the watering down was a bad idea.

 

Clynelish 17  1997 / 2015 Old Malt Cask Hunter Laing # HL11236 50%

 Nose: 1997 is widely regarded as a great year for Clynelish. And if one to judge from this nose alone, one must agree. Wonderful refill wood. This is full of clean chalky minerals and hot wax. Sweet custard and the sparkle of orange zests. Fairly simple but in all the right places.

 Palate: Very upfront, with many things going on – sweet and creamy yet the zesty orange fizz is evanescent. Yellow pollen and something like honeysuckle. Clean and thick. A good Clynelish is thick and tongue coating. Brilliant flinty-waxy- oily play going on. If I had to name a shortcoming, I would point to the less than stellar depth and development. But then again, that’s characteristic of the modern stuff.

 Finish: Medium long, though the mouthfeel is great. Again flints and hot wax,  some remnant stewed fruit.

 

 

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This entry was posted on March 12, 2017 by in Clynelish and tagged .
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