Behind the twenty-first window of That Boutique-y Whisky Company’s 2019 Advent Calendar we will be reviewing each day until the 24th of December was hidden a Clynelish 21yo batch 7 single malt, bottled at 47.8% abv by that Boutique-y Whisky Company. The story of Clynelish is a little bit complicated. The First Duke of Sutherlands created the first Clynelish distillery in the Highlands, in the town of Brora, in 1819. After a few bankruptcies, John Walker & Sons bought a stake of the stocks in 1916. However, they mothballed Clynelish in 1931, but started production again in 1939. 1967 saw the construction of a new distillery, also named Clynelish, adjacent to the existing one. Soon after that, the “Old” Clynelish was mothballed in August 1968, and reopened the next year, renamed as the famous Brora, to be unfortunately mothballed again in 1983 (they will reopen soon as the distillery is being rebuilt). The current Clynelish is a vital part of several Johnnie Walker expressions and especially the Gold Label one. The outturn of this 21yo batch 7 was 1174 bottles, and is unfortunately sold out. It seems it was sold for around £130.
Coldorak: The nose is prickly, letting you imagine a higher abv. Bananas, coconut, vanilla, honey, and a mineral side with chalk. Citrus is also here as well as something that makes me think of wet moss. There may be other fruits, maybe orchard ones, but I’m not sure. Water doesn’t change much, maybe making the nose even shier.
Ainulindalë: Quite a tropical nose, mango, kiwi, passion fruit. All of these fruits are on top of honey and vanilla, as well as lilac and a saltiness. It is quite fresh, very pleasant.
Coldorak: A slightly sweet and sour arrival, on apple, honey, gentian and juniper, with a chewy mouthfeel but a wee bit less waxy than the usual Clynelish. There’s also a slight bitterness to it from oak spices and a squash of grapefruit and a pinch of pepper mid-palate. Reduction makes the mouthfeel more waxy and reinforces the green apple as well as the grapefruit.
Ainulindalë: It starts off with a slight charred oakiness in the mouth to then go to bbqed fruit. Odd! Toasted mango, pomegranate and apricot in a way, with a top note of ash and this very typical clynelish waxy mouth feel. Then comes cotton candy replacing the ashes. Water reduces a bit the ashiness to underline the ripe fruits and mellows it out by blending a bit more the previous notes together.
Coldorak: The finish is medium long on oranges and oak. With water, a few drops of grapefruit join the finish.
Ainulindalë: It finishes long, all on mango and pomegranate with a slight bit of vanilla
Coldorak: A good Clynelish but I was honestly expecting more from a 21yo Clynelish. I found it a bit shy both on the nose and the palate, a bit subdued. But it’s a good dram anyway!
Ainulindalë: A very good dram although this ashy side surprised me and was out of place to me. That being said it was very good and sweet without being disgustingly so.