A Curious Clynelish – to end this Indie Run of Clynelish

One of the really fun things about regularly exchanging whisky samples with friends, is the ability to get to some bottlings deep in their collections, those that are no longer available on the market, one-off single casks. In case you snoozed while that very limited supply was sold, it’s gone.

A curious Clynelish bottled in 2001 came in the last exchange with my friend Torben. This is a 12 year old Clynelish matured in a South African sherry butt. Not having heard of whisky in South African sherry butts (or of South African sherry), I was intrigued!

Photo Credit: south-africa-tours-and-travel.com

Photo Credit: south-africa-tours-and-travel.com

It turns out that South Africa has a serious fortified wine industry (which would make sense, as they have a serious wine industry), and Signatory sourced several casks of which I now know of four bottlings (at 43%, 56%, 58.7% and 59.9% – the one I have here to review), and there have also been bottlings of Mannochmore by signatory in similar casks.

This one is really interesting. This isn’t Oloroso or PX style sherry, rather more of a Fino style cask with the full body of the spirit not only waxy, but oily. There’s also American oak there at work…


Photo Credit: whisky-onlineauctions.com

Photo Credit: whisky-onlineauctions.com

Signatory Clynelish 1989, Distilled 17.5.1989, Matured in a South African Sherry Butt #3240 and Bottled on 24.11.2001, Yield 672 Bottles (58.9% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Gold, very slow rolling small droplets.

Nose: Dusty and balsamic, Fino sherry like. Waxy and oily, heavy spirit on the nose, very coastal without being salty. A layer of honey and dried fruit reveals itself in a combination not in the “regular” profile of a sherry butt. Water brings out more of the sour-ish sherry and makes the honey a lot more pronounced.

Palate: Citrus and sultanas soaked in water, sharp cinnamon (like the concentrate you find in fireball) and pepper with honey. Water reveals a lot of the pepper making it extremely spicy.

Linger: Spices in the back of the throat, some citrus tangyness on the tongue in a medium finish.


This is an interesting dram, and I’d be really happy to try it after a glass of that South African sherry. The oily note is interesting as it usually gets lost in sherry casks. All in all, this is a fun dram. I wonder what it would be like with another 6 years on it….

Thanks Torben, for having such interesting stuff and for sharing!



6 comments on “A Curious Clynelish – to end this Indie Run of Clynelish
  1. Koenraad Verschueren says:

    distilled and bottled in 1989? second date must be 2011?

  2. Shane G says:

    South Africa also makes some amazing port (or whatever we’re supposed to call port that isn’t from Portugal). Would love to see malts finished in those casks. Pity about Clynelish becoming so popular though, used to be this little inside secret you had to go on all sorts of crazy quests to find.

    • Shane, I think this is nothing yet. I suspect Diageo is setting Clynelish up for some serious premiumization…

      • Shane G says:

        It’s already begun, I had a bottle of the Distiller’s Edition (1993) a while back and I swear it’s the same as the regular 14 aside from fancy packaging and the price. Part of the fun of Clynelish used to be just tracking down the bloody stuff in wonderfully unassuming bottle.

  3. ajay kumar says:

    Good taste

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