1970's Clynelish is always of interest. During this period, neighbour Brora changed production styles from heavily peated to lightly peated, and, if you believe the rumours, a few casks got mislabelled in the process. If you’re ever drinking an early 1970’s Clynelish which tastes particularly peaty, well, you never know….
Today's Clynelish is 100% not an accidental Brora I'm sorry to report. It comes courtesy of Independent bottler Adelphi and is drawn from cask 2565 (which I'm going to presume is an ex-bourbon cask, but it is unspecified), distilled back in 1974 and bottled shortly after the turn of the millenium. 213 bottles were produced from the cask at 56.3% ABV. Let's kick back and take a deeper look...
Nose: Instant furniture polish, light smouldering tobacco, and beeswax. Sweetness is very apparent and upfront also and comes from natural honey (more bees) sprinkled unsparingly with icing sugar. In amongst the notes of leather armchairs and dusty libraries we can pull out both oranges and lemons (St Clements) as well as a variety of supporting aromas from walnuts though anise to allspice. Across the entire experience there is a flinty/wet slate minerality with cuts through some of the older and richer notes and provides some pleasant immediacy.
Taste: Slightly oily, arguably chewy and definitely waxy. Polish and tanned leathers are strongly favoured, as are the honey and cooking sugars. A big spoonful of orange marmalade (with the bits still in of course) spiced up with some fiery pepper and a pinch of salt. Water brings forward the sweeter notes and also introduces some grassiness to the equation.
Finish: Long and fairly oaky with some dusty and chalky notes in the tail. Slightly astringent, but everything is perfectly in check here.
Whilst this is not a 1970’s fruit-bomb Clynelish, it most certainly is a particularly good example of the spirit well-matured and with the honey and beehive notes dialled up a few notches. There’s a ton of coherence here and nothing jarring nor out of place. Oh and did I mention that it’s perfectly delicious too?