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Clynelish 12 yo (inizio ’70, Ainslie&Heilbron, OB for Di Chiano, 43%)

Like every year, we like to celebrate Christmas with a ‘special’ dram: two Brora the first and second year, a ’71 Glenfarclas last year… What can we go better? Well, it is easy to say: tasting a 12-year-old Clynelish imported to Italy by Di Chiano in the early 70s… Which means distilled in the late 50’s… Which means… Well, if you studied history you already know it.

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N: we are surprised (and therefore we want to start right here) with a well-pronounced fruity side:(yogurt with) banana, yellow fruit (apricots with a nice acidity), perhaps even a hint of strawberries. An incredible floral side also emerges, in its intense subtlety: fresh and moist flowers; roses. And
again: almond paste and different citrus fruits (grapefruit?) – citrus give a sensation of ‘acidity’ that
remains one of the few recurrent themes in an evolving nose. And in fact another note immediately appears, very dear to us: that Clynelish / Brora cliché made of persuasive mineral and earthy /peaty references; fantastic wet wool and a very slight smoky hint on a soft wax background.

P: spotlessly clean, it seems almost non-alcoholic! The body is not full but… how many nuances! Here the fruity side seems to withdraw a little, in favor of a rising peat and a superb minerality. A lot of honey, an explosion of sugary flowers and a little almond paste; a nice citrus size, acidic, is confirmed, between lemon and grapefruit juice. It gives a touch of smoke and various, multiple, infinite mineral and earthy scents.

F: delicate but persistent; it cleans the mouth and leaves a sugary and mineral trail; still vegetable and floral, but with an amazing briny note and more smoky peat tips. This kind of finish are so rare, being able to exhibit such complexity…

In front of this kind of dram, we have mixed feelings and we don’t know what to choose: bright joy for the enjoyment we feel or dark despair for not having two cases in the closet? Perhaps the palate has lost a little grip, and the intensity (as happened for example, even if there with more painful loss, for our 1947 Talisker) prevents us from exploring, in our scale, the most unattainable peaks: but a 93/100 is the right tribute to a malt that is unrivaled for its complexity and aromatic quality. Clynelish and Brora (and let’s say that things coincide here…) are perhaps our favorite distilleries: and if there was a need, well, now we remember why. Many thanks to Riccardo from Bar Metro for the sample.

Sottofondo musicale consigliato: Peter Pears e Benjamin BrittenSette Sonetti di Michelangelo.

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