Amongst the drams tasted during the Ospitaletto Whisky Festival, this Clynelish was one of the most awaited: it’s a 13 years old whisky, matured in ex-sherry butt #6083. As you should know, Clynelish has a huge reputation in our hearts, and Samaroli – the historical bottler – is famous for having a peculiar style in choosing casks: always high quality, but no easy choices. Let’s see.
N: uber-intense strawberry jam! Wonderful, with the usual waxy notes perfectly integrated in a rounded profile (apricots, spirited cherries) that can’t drop the peculiar mineral austerity, so typical of Clynelish. Someone said “strawberry scented Ikea candles”. After a while, together with a slight smokiness (Tomislav Ruszowski talked aboud ‘old diesel engines’), the maltiness grows, with hints of brioches. A delightful nose, constantly evolving.
P: simply extraordinary. A unique note of bees wax and paraffin opens the palate; then a carpet of red fruits, strawberries and raspberries mostly. A hint of malty sweetness grows with time (red berries tart? Brioche with raspberry jam?). Towards the end, demerara sugar and an hazelnut’s delirium.
F: orange peel, then malty biscuits. Long and very intense.
Simply excellent. We’d have loved to bring home a couple of sample, in order to sip it and analyze it properly… Very, very good: a polite and refined sherry that manages to round off Clynelish’s profile, without corrupting its nature, though – its minerality and waxiness are there, standing still. We’ve seen that in the next Rome Whisky Festival there will be a Samaroli masterclass: it’s quite expensive, but you shouldn’t miss it… Mr Silvano Samaroli in person will be there! Meanwhile, this Clynelish brings home an honest 91/100 (but with more time and more… whisky, we could have gone even higher).
Recommended soundtrack: Paolo Fresu’s Devil Quartet – La follia italiana.