Review No.57. Clynelish 14 Year Old

Clynelish is another distillery within Diageo’s portfolio that is looked upon fondly by many critics.  This distillery is based near the coast so there meant to be coastal feel to this one.  I have heard that some distilleries that claim to be coastal don’t actually store their barrels near the coast.  I don’t know if this is true for Clynelish but it does make me wonder how much of the coastal/salty flavours come from the air around the barrels or something else.  I am a fan of coastal whiskies, Scapa being one, so I was looking forward to trying this one.


Whisky: Clynelish 14 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky, 46% vol.

Nose: Coastal salt, malt, vanilla, citrus, green apples, earthiness

Taste: Biscuits, malt, lemon rind, honey, liquorice, cinnamon, leather, oak

Finish: Spice, citrus rind, malt

Score: 3.75

Summary: At first I was struggling to understand the hype about this Clynelish 14 year old but having given this time and some water it really opened up and I discovered many layers of complexity.  The honey, citrus and coastal combination works well and there is a maltiness to it throughout.  This is described as a coastal highland single malt on the label and it is exactly that.  I am not sure if the barrels are stored near the coast or whether the coastal/savoury influence is coming from light peat – wherever it comes from it is noticeable.  There is an earthiness this as well which also leads me to think there is peat involved.  The official Clynelish range is limited, you can get the distillers edition and limited editions released on occasion. You may have to scour the independent sector for more from this distillery.  Anyway, this one is great value for money at current prices (approx. £45), and you can get this as a 20cl bottle too! This is one to take time over.


Scoring scale: My scores reflect a balance of the overall experience, availability and cost for a whisky,

1 – not to my preference

2 – tastes fine but does not excite me

3 – more to my liking and would revisit occasionally

4 – very much to my liking and would consider as a regular feature on my whisky shelf

5 – permanent feature on my whisky shelf


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