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Clynelish 12 yo (1971, Ainslie&Heilbron for Edward&Edward, 56,9%)

Let’s analyze in detail the title of this review: Clynelish 12 bottled in 1971… which means it’s distilled before the establishment of the “new Clynelish” distillery, hence this is a Whisky that nowadays we can call Brora. Ainslie & Hebron is the name of the company that build Clynelish at the end of ‘800 and afterwards sold it to the company that will be named Diageo after the infamous Pattinson crisis during the ‘20s.  Between the ‘60s and the ‘80s (whiskybase says even further) several Cynelish bottlings with this brand name were released. These are legendary bottlings, nowadays incredibly rare and expensive. Edward & Edward is, in fact, Edoardo Giaccone, “il Baffo” (the mustache), owner of the historical Whiskyteca of Salò (Italy) – open in 1959! Several of these Clynelish 12 by A&H were bottled especially for him. If you check the last number you’ll notice that is bottled at cask strength: as we all know, that was very rare. As you can imagine we’re talking about a top level Whisky and, before reviewing it, we want to say thank you to Giuseppe for this superb gift..

N: very acute and sharp, surprising and almost scary from a quality standpoint. The peat contribution is very chiseled, elegant, restrained: the consequent minerality  is very delicate hence delicious; there is no exuberant wax (errata corrige: arrives a bit later and it’s stunning!), rather explodes a marine side, brackish, iodine (sea air lashing when it rains at sea; notes of rain, wet earth), with hints of lemon – indeed: of lemon seed. Slowly, with patients a delicate sweet side arises, in-between a white chocolate mousse, vanilla and marshmallow. Elegant and restrained. A cardamom dusting?

P: confirms the olfactory premises, being sharp but delicate: at cask strength, it is both fat, oily and very fresh. It shows a savoury and lemony freshness really powerful, almost sparkling. More brine, wax and honey. The sweetest side is, like the nose, verbally easy: milk bread, vanilla, white sugar, a little white chocolate. With few drops of water, the cereal, barley, appears even more evident, spectacular. A trickle of smoke, perhaps.

F: long, persistent, still split between lemon, and marinity, a thread of smoke emerges. Oysters, even…

The profile is what we ideally like best: Clynelish, from this point of view, it’s a security. Compared to other versions of the same years that we had the privilege to taste (some of them here), this one is only slightly peaty, not so much waxy, on the other hand very salty and iodine, with an elegant and restrained sweetness. 92/100, delicate, simple perhaps, but of a unique simplicity, unobtainable, unrepeatable, irresponsible. Pardon, what?

Recommended soundtrack: Radiohead – Daysleeping.

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