Tasting: Clynelish 1994 – 2015 by Cadenhead’s (coming soon…)

Clynelish 1994 - 2015 by Cadenhead'sDram data:
Distillery: Clynelish
Bottler: Cadenhead’s
Distilled: 1994
Bottled: 2015 (coming soon!)
Age: 20/21 years
Limitation: unknown
Casks: Ex-Sherry Butt
Alcohol: unknown (probably mid-50s)
Unchillfiltered, natural colour
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
The nose doesn’t leave anything for discussion: This is European oak ex-sherry (butt) matured! Rich dark creamy sherry notes with a noticeable oak influence. There are notes of cigar tobacco, old leather armchairs, wood polish, milk coffee and dark chocolate paired with very dry dark fruits (figs, raisins, dates, plums) and a hint of sulphur. The mix leans a bit towards the spicy side rather than the fruits and the alcohol (unknown ABV, I guess it’s in the mid-50s…) is well-integrated . The palate is more on the dry and waxy side – quite a lot of alcohol too, initially overpowering the sweet and spicy notes, so let’s add a drop of water. Much better now. Quite a bit more herbal, spicy (slightly bitter) and dry the nose suggested – European oak hard at work here. Whatever distillery character there once was, it’s almost gone, but such is the nature of very active wood. Ginger, limoncello, dried orange peel, dry sherry, vermouth, cigar tobacco oil and burnt toffee in the foreground with subdued dark, dried fruit puree in the background. No sulphur on the palate. The finish is medium long, initially spicy with dry, herbal notes lingering afterwards…

This was one of the cask samples presented by Cadenhead’s Mark Watt to his masterclass audience at the Vienna Whisky fair in March 2015. When he asked the audience whether this should be bottled, the majority voted “aye”. And indeed, this cask is going to be bottled shortly. I do not yet know when and which bottling series, but when you’ll see a dark 1994 Clynelish from Cadenhead’s in the coming months, that’s going to be it and I’ll update this post accordingly.

As for the dram itself: A very active cask imparting lots of spicy, dry flavours and some dark fruits into the distillate. This is old-style ex-sherry butt matured whisky exhibiting the influence of European oak, so don’t expect it to be the sweet sherry style from american wood casks with liberal amounts of overly sweet sherry left in the casks prior to filling.

Score: 87/100
(Nose: 89 palate: 85 Finish: 86)

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