Clynelish (pronounced kline-leesh) is a distillery that is located in the town of Brora on the north eastern Highland coast. It is a modern distillery that was opened in 1967, however the history goes beyond that date. There has been a distillery in Brora since 1817 and this was also called Clynelish. The current distillery was built next to the old one and they were run simultaneously under the same name until the old one was closed in 1983. Now, any whisky produced at the new distillery is called Clynelish and anything that remains available from the old distillery goes under the name of Brora. The current owners of Clynelish are drinks company Diageo and it is the 4th largest in their portfolio of 28 distilleries, producing 3.3 million litres of whisky per year.
The whisky produced at both distilleries has long been well renowned amongst connoisseurs but they are generally unknown to the general consumer. The two main releases are a 14 years old and a limited 'Distiller's Edition' that is part matured in Oloroso sherry casks. Clynelish is readily available through independent bottlers and these offer a great opportunity to buy quality limited release whiskies for a decent price. This bottle is released by the Glasgow based independent bottling company Douglas Laing & Co and forms part of their Provenance range.
This 10 years old Clynelish is a luminescent golden yellow and it has a fresh aromatic nose. There is plenty of vanilla and oak present and these are joined by some fresh dried fruits (think of sultanas especially), cereal grains, a hint of some tropical fruit (imagine passion fruit) and just a whiff of peaty smoke. On the palate, this whisky has a zesty freshness (think of lemon zest) and is packed with sweet caramel, vanilla, honey and dried fruits (those sultanas again). This is balanced well by some woody spiciness (imagine nutmeg), that whiff of peaty smoke (think of damp earth and ashy bonfires) and a touch of saltiness (think of sea water). The finish is long yet delicate with vanilla oakiness, the dried fruits and salty tang prominent.
This is a lovely whisky that is not as rich, salty or smoky as previous versions of Clynelish that have been sampled. The fresh and sweet notes are complimented and balanced by the savoury elements, resulting in a very enjoyable dram. It is bottled at 46% ABV and is from a single cask, so represents good value at £40-45 a bottle. A very pleasant whisky.