Clynelish. This was a distillery that I had to circle back to. It is about 2 hours north of Inverness, but still not the farthest highland distillery. They are one of Diageo’s distilleries and were purchased mainly for their blending capabilities. You won’t find Clynelish too often outside of the UK. Only about 5% of what is produced here ever becomes a single malt and the rest goes to blends. You will sense this sparsity with the bottlings they offer. Currently there is only a 14 Year Old Single Malt and a Distillery Edition. They do plan to release a 21 year old all aged in sherry butts in 2019.
Pronounced “cline-leesh”, they produce about 5 million liters of new make spirit per year. They were actually closed from production while I was visiting and will be closed all together one full year come May 2017. Apparently major repairs were needed. You will hear from Clynelish fans, that it has a real waxy, coating experience on the palate. Every distillery claims to have a special production, fermentation, aging process or some sort of special ritual that differentiates their product. The distillery managers at Clynelish still are not completely sure where this waxy mouth coating comes from. After apparently many controlled tests they believe it comes from their pipes and how they interact with the cold temperature in the north. This may sound unappealing that characteristics of the palate could be coming from uncleaned pipes, but once you taste this dram you won’t want them to fix it!
I didn’t walk around the facility, so I don’t have many pictures. I did get to try a few drams with the nice ladies at the visitor’s center though. Clyenlish was also my last stop in my Friends of Classic Malts Diageo workbook. I got my last stamp and made the mistake of having them mail in my completed book to receive my pewter cup. It has been a few weeks now and still no sign of my prize. Oh well, I guess I will have to go back to Scotland and start over!
Clyenish 14 Year Old Single Malt
Holly’s Tasting Note..
Nose: Strong honey, beeswax, caramel, beeswax candle.
Palate: Caramel corn, toffee crunch, peanuts and very sweet. Thick and creamy finish.
Clynelish Distillery Only Edition
Holly’s Tasting Note..
Nose: Citrus, grapefruit, butter.
Palate: Oily, ginger spice, creamy sweet almost like frosting.
I literally wrote that there was a “crazy freak-out” on the palate.
Both the 14 Year and the Distillery only were very, very unique bottles! I would definitely buy the Clynelish 14 if I see it again.