This will be fun to compare — a 9 year old IB vs Diageo’s special release 12 year old. Let’s start with the younger:
Clynelish 2011 Single Cask Nation 9 Year Old / 60.1%
Tasted neat, then with a drop of bottled water
From the Jewish Whisky Company’s Single Cask Nation label comes a 9-year old Clynelish distilled in May 2011, matured in 2nd fill bourbon barrel #800315, and finally bottled in October 2020. Just one of 244 bottles.
The label notes “vibrant and sweet with a fruity thread that runs through the entire experience. The oak and pepper are perfect foils, though, able to keep the sweetness at bay while framing the fruitiness.”
This was distilled before Clynelish modernized in 2017 so it should still be nice and waxy. This is single cask / cask strength, and though not stated, probably also NCF and natural colour.
- Color: amber (0.7)
- Nose: lemonade, candlewax, meringue pie, some oak, tropical fruits, and sugar
- Taste: lemon-pepper chicken, sandalwood, more wax and some minerality
- Finish: long, hong-kong style pastry tarts (not the egg ones, but the fruit ones!) and a cloying sweetness
This is a very young Clynelish, so it’s distillate forward, especially after resting in a refill bourbon barrel. It’s a little special; I enjoyed it, and it’s got the Clynelish character, but these super-young Clynelishes are not my favourite, I think it’s a distillery that does a little better with more time in oak.
Clynelish 2012 Diageo Special Releases 2022 12 Years Old / 58.5%
From Diageo’s Special Releases for 2022, this Clynelish 12 Years Old is matured in refill American Oak, then finished in Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso casks. The only other fact on the label is that it is “natural cask strength.”
I am already not thrilled with Diageo’s typical iron curtain regarding what went into this bottle, or if it’s been chill-filtered or coloured. I have the UK bottle so I won’t get any clues!
- Color: burnished (1.1)
- Nose: mead, malty chocolate, blueberry, pine sap, and some waxiness
- Taste: first a rich sherry, lemon zest, and tropical fruit salad; then oak and pine sap, a little graham cracker, and chalk
- Finish: medium, muddied, fairly woody, ending in a metallic note
Too many cooks spoil the broth? This is perfectly standard, not exactly living up the Clynelish hype, but I did want to try it. I’d recommend the Clynelish 14 or Game of Thrones editions over this, but it’s not by any means terrible. It needs a little more focus/marriage and less finishing/blending.
I really wish I knew what the out-turn was — probably massive.