Today’s offering is a 29 year old Clynelish that was distilled in the year following Brora’s closing, and shares many of the Brora characteristics. Being a SMWS single cask, don’t get your hopes up for this to be a regularity, but this cask is very special in that way.
It’s a refill ex sherry butt, that lost over a third of its content to the angles over the last three decades, clocking in at 348 liters for the 548 bottles. It has a light smokiness (singed fabricated pinewood smoke, not peatiness) that hints of the very old peat on the nose (none on the palate, though), and with a little more waxiness, would have you completely fooled. This dram is very special indeed.
Scotch Malt Whisky Society 26.105 – Clynelish 29 ‘Bumblebees by the Sea’ – Refill Sherry Butt distilled 29.11.1984, Bottled September 2014, Yield 548 Bottles (57.6% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Gold with a very slight reddish coppery tinge with pretty slow legs.
Nose: Dry honey, light smokiness like a pine board being sawed or burnt with a magnifying glass, old dusty sherry, woodiness (not oak, more like a 2*4 would smell), light balsamic vinegar, white grapes, sawdust and tree bark. If left covered, the balsamic is overwhelming on the nose right after uncovering, then dissipates.
Palate: Honey, hot black pepper and hibiscus flower tea over an underlying strata of spiciness (that can’t be broken down further). The word crisp comes to mind.
Linger: Spicy on the top of the palate and sweet on the sides of it, around the teeth (first time the waxiness comes about). Tongue has sweetness and peppiness in a very long finish.
This one can’t really be classified in any real “distillery category”. I think that the SMWS clan of ‘Light and Delicate’ is actually the best way to describe it.
If tasted blind, I’m not sure I’d say Clynelish/Brora – but having them as a reference puts this one closer to the Brora 22.
Fascinating dram, I’m really glad I have enough for another one 🙂
Thanks for reviewing. I have this one lined up for review as well before long and I agree its a good one and I grabbed a couple of bottles of it myself 🙂
I’m not sure I agree with it being very close to Brora in style, though…
However, there’s no doubt about the waxy honey Clynelish style and I’d also say its an excellent representation of the periode, but I feel the Brora light/heavy (did that make sense?) style produced just before the closing of Brora.
Having tried more than a handful of Clynelish from the SMWS, these have also been great:
26.90, 26.102, 26.106 … but the closest to real Brora in style I’ve had has been the 26.77 – absolutely mindblowing stuff!
I think this is really part of the beauty of our passion. The fact that we can find other things in the same liquid 🙂
I agree that this is a beautiful representation of the period…. 🙂