Clynelish 26 yo 1993/2019 Prima & Ultima

“Over the past 40 years I have worked intimately with our distilleries across Scotland and I’ve been fortunate enough to witness great change in the whisky industry. “Each of the eight whiskies I’ve selected for Prima & Ultima tells a tale of heritage and craftsmanship, and I’ve chosen them from distillers of great personal importance to me.”

Dr Jim Beveridge OBE

Time for some unicorn whisky reviews, and what better than this quite new Prima & Ultima range of whiskies from Diageo. Prima & Ultima, meaning the ‘first and last’, comprises a selection of casks selected from a number of Diageo distilleries, including Lagavulin, Mortlach and the Singleton of Dufftown.The eight single vintage malts selected for the first range in the series were chosen by whisky maker Dr Jim Beveridge OBE.

Prima & Ultima range

The first round of Prima & Ultima whiskies includes:

  • Caol Ila 1984 (35 years old, 50.8% ABV, aged in a refill European oak butt, 499 bottles)
  • Clynelish 1993 (26 years old, 49.8% ABV, aged in refill American oak casks, 941 bottles)
  • Cragganmore 1971 (48 years old, 43.7% ABV, aged in a first-fill ex-Sherry butt, 352 bottles)
  • Lagavulin 1991 (28 years old, 50.1% ABV, aged in refill American oak casks, 1,013 bottles)
  • Mortlach 1994 (25 years old, 55.1% ABV, aged in a first-fill Pedro Ximénez cask and oloroso-seasoned European oak butt, 389 bottles)
  • Port Ellen 1979 (40 years old, 51.2% ABV, aged in a refill European oak butt, 436 bottles)
  • Singleton of Dufftown 1988 (30 years old, 48.8% ABV, aged in refill American oak casks, 469 bottles)
  • Talisker 1988 (31 years old, 51.4% ABV, aged in refill American oak casks, 721 bottles)

Fortunately I’ve got a bit of most of the range (save the Cragg and Singleton which broke during transit! ). What better than to start the series of review with the Clynelish?

Clynelish 1993 , 26-Year-Old ,49.8% ABV

This one was Bottled: 9.12.19 and aged Refill American Oak Casks, for a total of 941 bottles.

Nose: lovely Clyenlish-ian notes: it’s waxy, and chalky and quite mineral, a bit of sweet fruity green apple peel, as well as a very faint tropical note. Baked green apple with little vanilla sugar, and few drops of citrus to balance all that. Not a lot of wood notes given the long 26 years of maturation. if you give it more time in the glass it’s getting a bit saline-y with olive brine…

Palate: The palate is a direct continuation of the nose with the briny, lemony and a bit chalky notes on the first wave of sensations, there’s the wood – it’s bigger than on the nose, and I like that (I like quite some wood in my older whiskies , and that’s no secret), some cocoa bitterness, and maybe a hint of turmeric as well, pepper and chilly heat too.

Finish: more spices, pepper, linseed oil, bitter wood.

Conclusion: Quite a typical Clynelish, and a very good one at that , although I might say I’ve had better Clynelishes.

Score: 89/100

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