An always popular #26 that’s been slumbering in 2nd fill ex-bourbon since September 2011.
Nose: Quince and lime jellies, candied peels and tangy hard candy sit with fruit teas and white pepper. Coconut cream and sunflowers are joined by bung cloth and hessian. Dilution reveals Cream Crackers, kiwi and passionfruit compote and a dusting of earthy ginger.
Taste: A powerful arrival of fruit-forward flavours – Green apples, pineapple chunks and guava – this sits with crumbled dark chocolate, gingerbread men and cashew nuts. The mid-palate offers tangy herbalness with Turkish Delight (sweet rose water) played against preserved lemons and limes. Dry oakiness gives way to vanilla-infused milk and underlying pepperiness. Water adds texture – not quite the waxiness one would expect with #26 (that tends to develop over longer maturation periods), but certainly with more viscosity in the body. The cask influence is increased with planed new oakiness alongside sticky tannins and pepperiness.
Finish: Medium in length and softly spoken with charred staves and tingling pepper.
As the name suggests – a bit of a shapeshifter – though not fully possessing the trademark cues one would expect from Clynelish. And that’s no bad thing – it’s nice to be surprised. There’s just a touch too much cask in the back-palate for my personal liking (particularly when diluted), but the expressive and defined fruitiness is quite excellent. Similarly there’s good depth here despite the relatively youth of the spirit. Not a slam-dunk, but much to admire.