After the 1994 Clynelish I reviewed last summer, it took me a lot of months to return to Clynelish. As we all know, Brora 1972 (from the old Clynelish distillery) might be the closest thing to whisky heaven, I know there are more, but bear with me. The distillery built next to the old Clynelish distillery is the current (new) Clynelish distillery, so in fact what we heave here is a whisky made very close to heaven, close in space and close in time. Luckily to keep the legend sort of burning, Clynelish managed to keep up the quality and still makes a pretty decent Whisky. The 1994 reviewed earlier, was above average, now let’s have a look at this 1974 Clynelish.
Nose: Slightly farmy, leafy, clean and fruity. Old wax, but more wax off, than wax on. Rather fresh and lively. Dried apricots. Dusty paper, and powdery. Vanilla. Bold (sour) wood, which is not up front. Naked oak, hence the sourness that sticks to it. It’s not particularly woody, but it ís the wood that keeps it together. Some grounded coffee. Cold cigar tobacco (Havana naturally). Musty clay and late vanilla. It’s not a Banff but I do ‘get’ some mustard here…
Taste: Wow! A nice attack of smoke, cannabis and hops. Creamy sweetness. Like true vanilla ice-cream with an apricot/mango syrup on top. Definitely a nice bite from the wood to accompany it all. The longer I keep it in my mouth the woodier it gets. It’s never too woody though. Quite strong, but it is almost 60% ABV. The finish lacks a bit of sweetness to round it all out. The wood makes it ‘pointier’ and dries out the lips. It does remind me a bit of the 1974 Rare Malts version, which was (also) no punishment to drink, but I liked that one a bit better.
This is one of many bottlings that are dedicated to one of earths finest Whisky festivals, or fairs, of all times. The Whisky Fair in Limburg Am Lahn in Germany that will be held at the end of this month. Of course this is long sold out, but new festival bottlings keep emerging as mushrooms on a wet forest floor, most of them pretty good, to say the least. It’s a very good Clynelish but the last part of the experience keeps it out of the 90 points range.