Clynelish at its Full Glory – Who Let The Candle Maker Out? Who? Who? Who?

Clynelish has one of the saddest human tragedy whisky stories associated with its founding and its founder, the 2nd Marquess of Strafford (later to be created the 1st Duke of Sutherland).

During the early 19th century, the Highlands were essentially forced the eviction of all the farmers and crofters traditionally working the land to allow for the grazing of sheep. On the heels of the disbandment of the clans in the second half of the 18th century, this was too much for Scottish society to bear, and by the beginning of the 20th century, more Scots were living abroad than in Scotland. The Marquess founded the Brora Distillery (to be named Clynelish) in 1819, even before he completed the clearing of all his lands of the hereditary tenants who worked the land for centuries.

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Clynelish is the core malt in the Johnny Walker Gold blend, but is used to give the “substance” mouthfeel in the other blends as well. What makes Clynelish so waxy is the fact that the foreshots and feints are kept separate from the low wines until they meet in the charger for the spirit still. This gives each liquid time to get build up waxiness and the result is the Clynelish “fruit and wax with a pinch of salt”.

And on to today’s tasting we go with a lovely Old Particular from Douglas Laing:

Clynelish 17 – Old Particular (Douglas Laing) – Distilled 10/96, Bottled 10/13 1/726 bottles from cask 10033, Refill Butt (48.4% ABV, NCF, NC)

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Appearance: Gold, slow forming legs.

Nose: Fresh fruit, waxy – like a lemon scented candle, vanilla and honey with an ocean breeze on the nose (but not overly salty). This expression has something very “in your face”.

Palate: Spice and sweetness with a very full body. Cinnamon gum leaves a tingle on the tongue.

Linger: A spicy linger, not unlike the OB Clynelish 14, but much longer (which makes sense, being NCF and a higher ABV).


Clynelish isn’t everybody’s cup of tea (or whisky). If you like the full bodied, non too gentle whisky, this is for you. In particular, this Old Particular has some “chutzpa” to it, you might even call it fresh!


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