This whisky is another one which is bred for blending – in fact, perhaps, the most famous of all of the base components for blended Scotch whisky because of its central part of the Johnnie Walker stable. It is quite famous for it’s “waxiness” which is caused by a natural buildup of oils in the feints and foreshots receiver (feints and foreshots are collected spirit at the beginning and end of the distillation which are not used for barreling but usually recycled back into the spirit which is being distilled). This buildup is normally cleaned up by distilleries – but not at Clynelish, where it builds their house style.
Nose: Applesauce, beeswax, raisins, apple seeds, marmalade, vanilla, oak, even with a bit of a juniper edge, light mineral notes as of the seashore – there not only is lots going on but it is quite well put together. Elderflower, too, is in the mix for a nice floral edge. 27.5/30 (92%)
Taste: Sweet at first, before some sherry, oak, and malt hit up the mid-palate along with a light heather-honey note, before dying out slowly with vanilla and dried fruit and a touch of peat. Lightly spicy too in feel and flavour – cinnamon, particularly. Developing, and fairly long in the mouth and ever so slightly salty. 27.5/30 (91%)
Finish: Raisins, slightly dry oak, pear, elderflower, cinnamon, with a mild spiciness and dryness. There’s a slight saccarin note which detracts, but this is slight. 17.5/20 (88%)
Conclusion: A slightly quirky malt, however, the complexity and length of this whisky is certainly of merit. Complex whiskies are always a delight to me – this is not only delicious, but also quite entertaining. Each of the elements play very well together and are restrained enough to not dominate and hide out all of the complexity. 18/20 (90%)
Overall Score: 90.5/100