I was very lucky to have received this cool Special Releases sample pack from Diageo this year. I was totally not expecting it, as it landed in one cool box a couple of weeks ago. They have really outdid themselves with the design and packing, and they were smart enough as to put unsealed sample bottles , so the samples are were going to be tasted rather than be sold on auction sites for $$$$. Quite a lot of interesting stuff this year, with a 40 year old single grain from “The Cally” and the much anticipated Port Ellen and Brora.
I’ve chosen to start the tasting notes not with the most expensive or RARE whisky of the release, but rather with the only NAS , from Clynelish. This is the 2nd time the Clynelish is bottled as a NAS. I’ve not tasted last year’s range (save the cheaper Lagavulin and Coal Ila) , but I have read good things about that NAS Clynelish, and was hoping the same level will be replicated this year. The whisky at hand was aged in First fill American oak, first fill ex-sherry, first fill rejuvenated, refill American oak & refill European oak, quite a few types of wood, and does contain whisky from a spectrum of ages (So i think). I am not sure why Diageo are bottling the Clynelish as a NAS (since clearly there is some old rare whisky in the vatting, as we’re about to find), but most likely is that they have some good old casks, and some new ones, and they would rather bottle it as a NAS then ask for 550 quid for say a 15 year old Clynelish. Makes sense in a way. This baby is bottled at 56.1% abv, there are only 3,000 bottles, and the price tag is , as mentioned before – £550.
Nose: The nose is lovely, with a malty and dark and brooding feeling to it, as the aromas unravel. Some pepper, and the signature waxy aromas are definetly here – This is is a Clynelish after all isn’t it? Diving deeper I am getting nice aromas of red fruit, ripe red apples, cherries, and some wine gums, and a lovely earthy note, mossy and damp storage rooms. This is certainly a dram to be left alone and open up, and indeed water does enhance the wax, and moss adding a lovely dimension to the fruit.
Palate: The palate is rich too, with notes of Kirsch, red fruit, and some cough syrup, on top of chocolate, waxy apples, and cherry flavoured ‘Halls’ candy . With water I’m getting more peat, dark honey, and nuts, with cinnamon and some cocoa too. A lovely melange of flavours, quite rich and oily, with some citrusy orange.
Finish: Chocolate covered orange peel, ginger, pepper and ripe apple.
This is an excellent whisky, bearing age or none. Well crafted, and does feel old and lovely, with the mossy earth feeling on the nose, the wax, and the fruit do combine wonderfully well. One of the better whiskies from the 2015 release IMHO. It is not cheap, and as a NAS It would not sell as fast as the PE and Broras, but if you have deep pockets, and you fancy good whisky, this is a brilliant place to start.