Whisky Reviews: The Three Drinkers, Triple Clynelish, Imperial, Glenlivet, and my first Fettercairn

Cask Trade Ltd did a really nice job with The Drinkers’ blended malt, punching way above its pricepoint for a non-NAS blend, while one Clynelish is an absolute knockout, two are meh. Fettercairn is a suprisingly good dram, and I will be aggressively trying to find more!

The Three Drinkers 17 Yr Blended Malt №1 / 45% / $45

This is based on the Amazon Prime TV show “The Three Drinkers” (which I have not watched) and is a non-chill-filtered, natural colour 17 year blended malt. Mine is bottle 181 of a tiny run of 300, but the way that this is number as “Batch One” leaves hope that there are more to come. This bottle also features prominently the logo of Cask Trade Ltd, who provided the casks for the blend.

Inspired by our journey through Scotland, we picked flavour elements to reflect the locations we visited as well as each of our personalities.  The Three Drinkers whisky is fruity and spicy with notes of sweet fudge, dried apricots and a touch of smoky oak.
  • Color: dark brown
  • Nose: a little mint, leather sofa, blackberries, and chocolate; burnt matches
  • Taste: a little smokey-peaty, like there’s a bit of Ardbeg mixed with some thick Speymalt casks; brownies with vanilla icecream and mint, lots of sherry
  • Finish: medium, dry sherry and cacao; oak

I don’t often buy blended whisky, but I picked this up because of the amazing colour, the seventeen year age statement, and the price! It’s thoroughly enjoyable, a nice buffed +5% ABV, and for a blended malt, quite complex.

Rating: 86/100

Clynelish 23 1995 Blossoms / 47.2% / $315

I tried a dram of this at Bar Cask Strength in Tokyo, mostly because my Japanese is not so great, and the label is very very pretty.

Distilled in 1995, and bottled in 2019, this 23 year old Clynelish was aged in a Hogshead. It is a Whisk-E bottling for the Japan domestic market. No indication of how many bottles were produced.

  • Color: very light
  • Nose: malty, fresh fruits, honeysuckle, dunnage warehouse and pineapples, burnt sugar; a little vinegar
  • Taste: effervescent and floral, big waxiness, green delicious apples, fresh-baked bread with ham, and custard
  • Finish: long and clean, like a fresh fruit tarte

I’m very much a fan of this Clynelish, it’s easily the tastiest dram I’ve had in the last year!

Rating: 97/100

Signatory Cask Strength Clynelish 1995 22 YR / 55.4% ABV/ $150

This is from Signatory’s lovely Cask Strength collection which comes in oddly shaped bottles. This Clynelish was distilled 11/21/1995, left to rest in cask #11230 refill sherry butt, and bottled as #46/601 on 7/20/2018. It is naturally coloured.

I didn’t like the previous bottle of this that I tried, but single-cask stuff can often be polarizingly different. We’ll give it one more try!

  • Color: light mahogany
  • Nose: musty sherry, figs, chlorine, a bit of lemon
  • Taste: rich and syopy, with an odd undertone of acetone, sherry, some citrus and brimstone
  • Finish: medium, powdered sugar and cake, sulphur

This one’s a good bit thicker and better than the previous bottle I tried, but it’s not quite my favourite sort of sherry bomb. It seems to have too many rough edges, and not enough complexity.

Rating: 68/100

Signatory Cask Strength Clynelish 1995 21 YR / 55.5% ABV/ $150

This is from Signatory’s lovely Cask Strength collection which comes in oddly shaped bottles. This Clynelish was distilled 9/26/1995, left to rest in cask #8672 refill sherry butt, and bottled as #62/566 on 8/23/2017.

It is naturally coloured. From the haze in the glass, I think it’s also non-chill filtered?

  • Color: lemonade / chardonnay
  • Nose: alcoholic, herbal, some turpenes — actually a lot like the perfume some older lady left in the air of the elevator I took up when I got home from work. Underneath, some hints of cinnamon, the spicy kind. With a bit more water, quite creamy.
  • Taste: fireball until I added more water, then it becomes grassy, with a hint of dry sherry. In the middle of the tongue, sandalwood.
  • Finish: short in taste, but mint-spice malingers

I am not an expert on this distillery, but this is not the best dram I’ve had from them. The sherry is pretty tired, and the spirit a little too fiesty for 21 years. I don’t find much oak/vanilla influence in this one, and it tastes young.

Rating: 60/100

Imperial 24 Yr 1994 Carn Mor Bequest / 53.0% / $340

This is an Imperial, distilled 28/06/1994 and bottled 07/07/2018, resting in bourbon barrel #5412, one of 161 bottles.

Carn Mor Bequest is the Morrison & Mackay IB label, and it describes itself a bit floridly as:

BEQUEST (n.)
LEGACY
BESTOWAL
HERITAGE
INHERITANCE
  • Color: golden
  • Nose: grassy; bitter grape skins, dry white wine, orchids, and pine
  • Taste: lemons and butter, oily mouthfeel, peaches, cream pudding
  • Finish: medium, with sweetness, and vanilla

This is a decent Imperial, it’s super light and floral, and it’s got some richness and buttery flavour/texture. It’s also way too expensive for what it is!

Rating: 85/100

Glenlivet 1989 29 Maltbarn Secret Speyside / 49.1% / $150

I tried a bottle of this “Secret Speyside” Glenlivet at Whiskey Fair Takao in Taiwan last December, and it was tasty enough to buy one on the spot!

This was matured for 29 years in a Bourbon cask, distilled 1989, and bottled 2018 — just 133 bottles for Maltbarn in Germany. No chill-filtering, natural colour.

  • Color: light gold
  • Nose: fresh, fruity, and floral; lemon meringue, raspberry, and oak-aged pickles
  • Taste: grassy, hot (without water), oily (with water); mint emerges, with cinnamon and cloves
  • Finish: long, a creaminess and some walnuts

This is a nice Glenlivet with more of a single-cask characteristic to it, with some really nice light notes, and mint.

Rating: 85/100

Fettercairn 1997 Signatory Vintage 20 / 461% / $80

This is my first Fettercairn, a Highlands distillery, distilled on 10.10.1997 and bottled 04.06.2018, bottle #396 of two hogsheads 5602 + 5606 at 20 years old. Like all other releases in the Signatory Vintage line, it’s NCF and natural colour!

  • Color: amber
  • Nose: vegetable oil, winter spices, lychee and honey, and some vanilla
  • Taste: delightfully rich, strawberries and whipped cream, maple snow taffy, fruit-pastry tart
  • Finish: long and thick, a little oak and lynchee

This is enormously delicious, fruity, and complex. I am looking forward to more Fettercairn!

Rating: 91/100

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Elliott

Personal interests in literature, SF, and whisky/whiskey/scotch, Software Engineer by Trade