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Undisclosed Distillery (52)

Clynelish 1997 (2017, Carn Mor, 57%)

Morrison & Mackay company has been working in the spirits business since the beginning of the ‘80s: after liquors, gin and other gorgeous stuff, since 2008 it has been selecting and bottling single malt. In 2012 the premium serie of single casks “Càrn Mòr” was launched. And in 2017 Lost Drams – the Milanese importing and distributing company owned by Fabio Ermoli – brought in Italy these bottles, presenting them during the Milan Whisky Festival. On that occasion we eyed some titillating whiskies, and now we start our tasting notes with a Clynelish matured in a sherry puncheon.

N. a peculiare profile. At the beginning it seems a heavy whisky, with flavours that hardly arise from the glass, but on the other hand it’s immediately delicate, absolutely zero alcohol in the nose. It slowly shows a gentle character, with notes of tobacco, cola, tamarind, a slightly sulphury side with beef broth and – why not? – some wax like a musical crescendo. This suggestion perfectly explain the idea of a wonderfully fat spirit, that can dialogue with the cask without being dominated by it. It’s a complete delight, but surely not for easy noses and palates in search of chicaneries. It gradually opens up and it reminds to dried strawberries, or even those fruit brews. Maybe dried orange peels and strawberry pastry. Every waking moment it becomes more expressive and exciting. Scent of new Cuban cigar, smooth and just taken from the humidor. Ever-changing, glorious. Candle wax strawberry flavoured. Citrus. Stop, please stop!

P: we must be extremely clear: 57% ABV is not here, it doesn’t exist, someone stole it, it disappeared. Maybe the alcohol remained in the bottle, or in the sample, who knows… Very consistent with the nose, it shows a dirty and sulphury opening and then it evolves towards a delicious wax (candle wax, not beewax), with some strawberries. It slopes gently to a sweeter profile, fully fruity. Croissant with a lot of butter. The “waxy” fruit is a bombshell. Some marzipan, too. There’s a lovely citrus tone, mainly blood oranges, actually an overripe orange, not to say rotten orange, that matches perfectly with the sulphur DNA. Uh, milk chocolate and almond paste, in order not to miss anything.

F: it’s in perfect balance between sulphur and gentleness, leaving your mouth deliciously coated in red fruits and citrus, without any trace of astringency.

Sometimes, after a few too many drams, when we dare to get off the fence, if you’d ask us which is our favorite distillery, we’d answer “Clynelish!”. Tasting drams like this strengthen our beliefs. It’s an exceptional spirit, very particular, unique, fat and delicate at the same time, combined with a remarkbly elegant cask, luckily not too overwhelming but surely quite active. Magnificent. 92/100

Recommended soundtrack: Cesare Cremonini – Poetica.

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