History In A Bottle Day 22: SMOS Clynelish 24 Year KWM Cask 10204
Posted on December 22, 2022
This post is Bonus Content. It has information on one of the KWM Cask bottles that are featured on the back of our 2022 KWM Whisky Calendar box.
Clynelish is a distillery that eluded us for quite some time, as far as store casks go, and then in the last 5 years, we have bottled 5. This 24-year-old was the first, and it certainly set the bar high, very high, it is safe to assume we won’t be bottling another 24-year-old Clynelish anytime soon. We have our friends at Elixir Distillers to thank for this one, a name that has come up in more than a few of these posts over the last 3 weeks.
It is funny to look back and think that it seemed expensive at the time… in actual fact, it was a steal. The whisky had that classic Clynelish waxy profile and oodles of sweet honey, but it was the bags of tropical fruits which really made this one shine. A whisky from another time… the likes of which we won’t often see again.
Andrew's Tasting Note
Nose: oozing with dripping candle wax and honey; then bright tropical fruits: grilled pineapple, mango dusted in pepper and plantains; very floral, like walking into a botanical garden on a hot day; then some nutty tones: cashews and macadamia nuts, the latter with white chocolate.
Palate: rich, honeyed, waxy and oozing with fruit; quite decadent, creamed and heather honey; the body is thick, creamy and waxy, you could almost spread it with a knife; bags of fruit, starting on the citrus side with Wine Gums and Starburst candies; with each sip, the fruits become more exotic, dried apricot, baked apple and poached pears; with patience, the tropical fruits emerge: mango, papaya and pineapple.
Finish: staying thick and waxy the finish is long, decadent and fruity; loads of honey and bags of fruit ending in toasted oak and spices.
Comment: when we first sampled this whisky we were absolutely stunned, and desperate to bottle it; I’ll admit, it came in a little higher priced than we had hoped, but that was wishful thinking on our part; mature Clynelish is becoming increasingly dear, and this bottling is spectacular; it would still be a must-have at twice the price!
Since then, we also bottled Clynelish from Signatory, Gordon & MacPhail and That Boutique-y Whisky Company over the intervening years. The Signatory 12 year was a cask Evan and I selected while touring the warehouses at Edradour Distillery in 2019. The Gordon & MacPhail was a sherry bomb that our friend Richard Urquhart saw fit to bestow upon us, and it was a smash hit.
And then there is the relatively new and still available That Boutique-y Whisky Co. Clynelish 20 Year. This bottle is actually a “Secret Highland” whisky, which can’t be named. We got very cheeky with that label, which featured Sam Simmons and yours truly urinating on the Duke of Sutherland monument in Golspie. Something we both actually did in 2005/6, independently, and not without good reason. He wasn’t a very nice chap. More on that on our website!
Andrew's Tasting Note
Nose: rich, honeyed and fruity; floral with notes of heather and golden grasses which transport me back to the top of Ben Bhraggie; leather, chocolate, candied orange, and spices; melons, apricots, and soft waxy tones; later it becomes doughy with bright berry fruits and honeycomb.
Palate: honeyed, rich, and very fruity with soft sherry notes and crisp spices; candied nuts, firm leather, and milk chocolate with cocoa nibs; more honeycomb, berry fruits, and a building waxy tones; creamy vanilla, cream soda, melons, and apricots; still a touch floral, more heather and early spring flowers.
Finish: long, coating, and spicy; Clynelish signature waxy profile coats the palate while notes, of heather, honey, leather, and fruits slowly fade away.
Comment: When we were offered this cask, there wasn't an opportunity to sample it, this was a take-it-or-leave-it proposition; and when you are offered a 20-year-old Clynelish at a halfway decent price with the opportunity to create your own label, it's best not to look the gift horse in the mouth; regardless we are very happy with the liquid and the label, and know you will be too!
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