Fine Old Clyenlish form 1965. If Serge Valentin writes that 1965 in the history of Clynelish is “the year of independent bottlers“, then, well, we need to trust him: when we saw this bottle at the the stand of Giorgio D’Ambrosio and Franco Di Lillo at the latest Milano Whisky Festival, we could not fail to consider that it would have been a perfect way to recover from Christmas baubles. And in fact, here we are: this whisky’s very special, it was bottled by Cadenhead’s for Sestante (Ernesto Mainardi, the man who created the Silver Seal brand too) in 1989; Clynelish stopped malting his own barley in 1965, so there is a good chance that this dram contains the last tears of a ‘special’
N: it may be because of so many years in the bottle, but it’s a whisky of a truly incredible silky daintiness: do not mistake daintiness for little personality, all the aromas are intense, it is the overall sensation that is soft and soft. There are notes of wax (new candles, a newly discarded package) and paraffin; alongside this, splendid citrus notes, almost mineral (grapefruit peel, lemon). Wet wool? A tip of anise? Below, a welcoming blanket of sweet aromas, including strawberry jam, creams, vanilla, a vague hint of yellow fruit. Although it’s not smoky, we are struck by a suggestion of an unlit fireplace, one that has been extinguished for a long time… Mmm, ok. It really smells of ‘old wardrobes’, and the more it’s in the glass, the more it seems to veer towards farmy, damp notes. Good as hell.
P: the excursus is: a very waxy first impact, citrus flare-ups and then, as it evolves towards the end, a majestic kidney hit with sweet malt and a sense of ‘old ash’. However, it’s truly sensational stuff. It has notes that we never found before, or very rarely: even on the palate there is a sense of wet wool, with hints of citrus and vanilla. Ah, if we had a whole bottle we would be dissecting it indefinitely: it is the overall feeling that is amazing, with a truly multifaceted and truly enchanting harmonic compactness. A little strawberry jam, again.
F: it infinitely replicates the notes of the palate, including wax, dull ash, macerated paper, strawberries, paraffin, fresh butter.
Made of an incredible complexity, much more than what emerges from our tasting notes, this Clynelish amazes seduces us for the harmony with which the different souls of the distillery emerge all together, all with strength, but all enclosed by a sort of unique veil of dignified charm: that sense, of old books, of a damp cellar, almost stable, encloses in an impeccable balance fruity notes and edges of ash, smoothing the corners but intensifying a proud personality. So many senseless words that we will summarize with a nice 94/100: thanks to Giorgio and Franco for the sample, and best wishes to you all.
Sottofondo musicale consigliato: Bob Dylan – Tangled up in blue.