Tag Archive: 50-55% ABV


Douglas Laing: Old Particular: Caol Ila: 20 Year (Scotland Islay Single Malt Whisky: 20 Years: 51.5% ABV)

Visual: Very pale greened grain.

Viscosity: Fast thick streaks.

Nose: Medicinal. Charcoal. Charred oak. Salt. Quite clean. Moss. Water is similar but smoother.

Body: Clean vanilla and caramel. Tinned tropical fruit. Tingling hint of alcohol. Water adds light custard. Cooked pork meaty notes. Oily and quite viscous. Light lemon.

Finish: Medicinal. Thick sheen. Oily. Slight tar. Mostly clean. Slight teacakes. Water doesn’t completely remove alcohol tingle.

Conclusion: This is a very clean Caol Ila. Very viscous as well in how it delivers the medicinal notes compared to the usual rather dry medicinal character of a lot of these. It really has a thickness to it, giving a thick sheen on your tongue rather than only evaporating to fill the mouth. It makes it a chewable medicinal style, with some, but not a vast amount of the Islay peat smoke coming in with it.

Flavour wise, while peat light, it lands smack solidly in the middle of what you would expect of a Caol Ila. Smooth vanilla and tropical fruit styling that I presume come from time spent in a bourbon cask – warming, with slight lemon notes and the expected salt character – it is not as unusual in flavour as it is in texture, but everything is done very smoothly indeed. So, the expected range, just polished beyond what you normally see.

It is not one that will convert people who weren’t fans of Caol Ila to begin with – but with the smoother character you find the vanilla and toffee being more present and offsetting the more medicinal notes – so it may tip someone on the fence over into liking it. Nothing is too hash, even the alcohol tingle feels more warming than burning – obviously its old age being put to good use. As long as you are not put off by Islay, then this is a smooth take on that, especially with water.

I have made this comparison before with other whiskies, but this does have small calls to Kiln Embers with its smoothness and salted lemon characteristics. This however is far more distinctively Islay and wears it more openly. A classic of Caol Ila, one that doesn’t break the style, but does it very well indeed.

Background: This is the final of the five whiskies had at Independent Spirit‘s latest Uber whisky night. This is an aged independent bottling of Caol Ila. I’m a big fan of all of Islay, and Caol Ila is definitely in the top 50% of them. Any more detailed than that is hard to call with the quality of the area. This should be an interesting one- while not the heaviest peated Islay, Caol Ila still has some character of it, and peat tends to vanish quickly with age. Should be fun. This is one of 316 bottlings for this release. Anyway, as always for these events – I was doing my notes in a social environment, with five strong whiskies back to back – my notes may be affected by other peoples thoughts, the drunkenness, and the other whisky I had. However, as before, for trying five expensive and rare whiskies like this I could hardly miss the chance to do some notes. Hope they are ok by you.

Springbank: Local Barley: 11 Year (Campbeltown Single Malt Whisky: 11 Years: 53.1% ABV)

Visual: Pale gold.

Viscosity: Mix of slow puckering and fast streaks.

Nose: Peat smoke. Wheat field. Vanilla. Slight grapes. Slight sour character. Buttery shortbread. Sulphur touch. Menthol. Water brings more sour fruits.

Body: Slight sour grapes, alcohol touch. Vanilla toffee. Oily. Water brings slight caramel, lightly grassy character. Apples and peppery character.

Finish: Floral air. Strong alcohol. Quince rakia. Slight white wine. Vanilla. Light oily nuts. Malt chocolate and toffee. Dry Madeira. Water gives a menthol air, smoke and apples. Drying notes.

Conclusion: This is very unusual for a Springbank. It does have the grassy character, the slight smoke – it is identifiable as a Springbank. However it is unusual in that it has a slightly sour, kind of fresh taste to it. It reminds me a bit of quince rakia, and it it makes it a fresher, less heavy base that gives this an entirely different feel overall.

Into that freshness is a light vanilla sweetness – the two interact interestingly with those aforementioned Springbank core elements – the grassiness isn’t very pronounced, instead giving a slight solid grounding to what is actually a quite clean feeling spirit. Also, in that clean spirit some of the younger spirit flavours – apples and green fruits, but delivered in a smooth aged whisky style. It even has a slight menthol freshness mixing in with unusual base, resulting a a minty touched mouth tingling feel overall.

It really does emphasis that unusual base – sour grapes touched and tingling. I would call it unique, except I actually have a recent reference point – this feels like a single malt equivalent to the 40 year Timorous Beastie that confused me so much at the last Uber tasting. This isn’t as complex, but is heavier and thicker – however they both show the same unusual tart mouthfeel.

I find this more an interesting experience than an awesome standout whisky, so it isn’t the best of the Springbank range – however it still shows the Springbank quality and is very good. One I’d say to definitely try if you get the chance, but hard to justify grabbing a full bottle of.

Background: Second of the whiskies I tried at the second Uber Whisky tastings that Independent Spirit have done this year. I am a huge fan of Springbank, so this was one I really looked forwards to. This is the second release of “Local barley”, whisky made with barley from local farms (in this case Bere barley from Aros Farm). The first release was a 16 year, this one is 11 year and one of approximately 9000 bottles. Anyway, as always for these events – I was doing my notes in a social environment, with five strong whiskies back to back – my notes may be affected by other peoples thoughts, the drunkenness, and the other whisky I had. However, as before, for trying five expensive and rare whiskies like this I could hardly miss the chance to do some notes. Hope they are ok by you.

timorous-beastie-40-year

Douglas Laing: Timorous Beastie: 40 Year (Scottish Blended Malt Whisky: 40 Year: 54.7% ABV0

Visual: Custard gold.

Viscosity: Slow thick streaks.

Nose: Very floral. Slight menthol. Vanilla. Oily and waxy. Heather. Light smoke. Battenberg. Grapes. Cream soda. Water adds sour grapes and sulphur. Butterscotch.

Body: Grapes. Caramac sweet bars. Definite alcohol. White wine. Cream soda. Water makes more marshmallow front and citrus back. Apples in a calvados style comes out over time.

Finish: Strong alcohol. Gin. Elderberry. Grapes. Waxy. Cream soda. Drying. Tropical fruit and white chocolate. White wine. Water adds more grapes and a slight make spirit style fruitiness.

Conclusion: This is not what I expected of a 40 year old whisky, not at all. It has all the vibrancy of a young whisky – especially a fruitiness that hints to make spirit, but it is matched with a smooth character and a very white wine style character that speaks of its age. It even has a very unusual cream soda style side of sweetness. It matches very vinous notes with butterscotch and even a slight sharpness in the fruitiness in a way that is very rarely seen in whisky.

There are elements that range as wide, and are as unexpected as a waxy battenberg, a sharp butterscotch, and a vinous soda. Combinations of words that you would not expect to be seen together, even less so to work as well as they do. It is very distinct and different. Most old whiskies I try are good, but feel so smooth as to be understated – the strong abv of this means that it is still forceful in its odd complexity.

Water integrates the notes and smooths it out a lot, but it still keeps a slight sharpness – what gets brought out is more white chocolate and tropical fruit – really emphasising the bourbon ageing influence.

A spritzy, unusual, gin influenced, winey, butterscotch whisky. It feels like it has been influenced by far more spirits than it can possibly have been – white wine, grappa, gin, rakia, calvados. So many styles resulting in a whisky unlike any other. It does have slight rough edges at times of sourness and alcohol, but I have not seen many spirits this fascinating and unique. So, not the best, but unique and that earns it a heck of a place in itself.

Background: 300 whisky tasting notes! I actually had a bottle set aside for this, but ended up hitting the 300 at Independent Spirit‘s uber whisky tasting. A 40 year old blended malt is one well worth the 300 mark, so what a wonderful coincidence! Sorry the photo is a bit rubbish on this – I started drinking then realised I hadn’t done the photo yet so it is a bit hurried and half empty. My bad. As before as this was a social event with five different whiskies my notes may be shorter and more scattershot than normal but I do my best.

that-boutique-y-whisky-company-laphroaig-12-year-old
That Boutique-y Whisky Company: Laphroaig 12 Year Old (Scottish Islay Single Malt Whisky: 12 Year: 52.4% ABV)

Visual: Pale clear and light, just slightly gold touched, spirit.

Viscosity: Slow thick streaks.

Nose: Quite creamy. Slight lemon. Orange crème. Butterscotch. Very light medicinal. Water makes slightly salty.

Body: Lightly salty. Some alcohol presence. Water makes creamier. Chocolate toffee eclair sweets. More medicinal and light custard sweetness. Light lemon meringue.

Finish: Dry peat intensity. Light grapefruit. Malt chocolate drinks. Water adds caramel and cream. Light lemon sorbet air. Light beef slices. Salted notes. Shredded wheat and honey.

Conclusion:An easy going Laphroaig? Kind of, yes, but with a sting in the tail. Spoiler – in a shock twist it is not the high alcohol level that gives the punch that provides the sting in the tail. In fact for the abv it is remarkably easy going, and while you only get a few of the notes neat, it only needs a tiny amount of water to start opening it up.

This is a mix of three definite, and distinct styles. There is the expected, though lighter than usual, medical, salty, salted rocks and such like notes that makes up the traditional Laphroaig elements- much more subtly used than normal though. The second string is a heavy twist on a note that can sometimes be seen in Laphroaig – lemon. Here it is far from normal – creamy, between lemon sorbet and lemon meringue, but now bringing light grapefruit and orange fruitiness that nigh unheard of from the distillery. It actually reminds me of traditional lemonade at times, that odd mix of flavours. Third and final is the chocolate caramel sweetness – there is normally a sweetness in Laphroaig backing everything but never as ramped up and thick as it is here.

Together it is only just recognisable as Laphroaig – until that sting in the tail – that being a peat punch pounding out in the finish; Finally stamping the Islay styling home.

Over time the more beefy, peaty notes rise up, more towards the standard ,expected notes- so by the end if feels like a more traditional expression, but enhanced by all that additional creaminess, sweetness and fruitiness.

Oft I have seen the expressions from the big Booming Islay distilleries mocked for the impression that they all taste the same. This shows this as the lie it is and slays the concept – this is recognisable, but different and delicious.

Background: After my last notes at the Hideout, I resolved to go back and try this. A rare independent Laphroaig bottling, with a cool Back To The Future inspired label. That Boutique-y Whisky Company always has cool, cartoon labelling which I dig. Apparently the people on the label are the winners of a contest. This is one of 421 bottles. While I do not control the music when in public, The Cranberries : Zombie came on while doing these notes, which was pretty nice.

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jura-tastival

Jura: Tastival (Scottish Island Single Malt Whisky: 14 Year: 51% ABV)

Visual: Bronzed gold.

Viscosity: Quite slow thick streaks.

Nose: Treacle toffee. Cinnamon. Honey. Cinnamon rolls. Light tar notes. Thick. Sugared orange. Stewed fruit. Water adds cinnamon pears.

Body: Strong. Alcohol presence. Orange liqueur. Spiced rum. Treacle toffee. Cinnamon. Water makes cinnamon pears. Slight charring. More water adds apples, a touch of salt. Vanilla toffee and treacle.

Finish: Malt chocolate and light oak. Spiced wine notes. Cinnamon and pepper. Light charring. Water adds treacle and chocolate liqueur. Light salted rocks.

Conclusion: Jura have been a go to whisky for me for a while now. Their entry level stuff is very nice, and generally not too expensive – while their Prophecy expression stands out as a great, complex peaty whisky. This is different again from those. The higher abv gives it a bigger, thicker character and a lot of room to roam.

This is a dark, rich expression with deep chocolate liqueur notes and light charring – all darker notes which calls to Bowmore Darkest or some of the Dalmore series for inspiration. It has that similar, very luxurious character, albeit with a strong alcohol punch if taken neat, and they are accentuated by a definite cinnamon sweetness and rum to red wine spiciness. It really, even when with the force of being neat, gives a decadent dark dessert feel. Death by chocolate meets cinnamon doughnuts.

Water soothes out the alcohol weight and gives hints of lighter notes hidden below it; Never huge, but there are feelings of subtle cinnamon pears and such like in there. Also water brings out, on the opposite side, subtle more traditional island characteristics – light salted rocks – again very minor, but gives it a grounding so it is not just a sweet, thick whisky.

Overall these just balance out an already very good experience – it gives hints of the more familiar expressions of Jura, but matched with that luxurious chocolate and cinnamon – making it like an island character backed dessert expression. Just enough added edge to make it unusual.

Very nice indeed, and probably now my tied favourite Jura with Prophecy.

Background: The 14 year is from a quick google that says the youngest spirit in this is 14 years. Anyway – this was my first tasting note done at The Hideout – a new whisky bar in Bath. Damn they have a nice selection – will try and take advantage of them to get some more unusual whisky tasting notes up on here. It is always nice to be able to try the more unusual stuff by the dram. This one is the Jura whisky done for the 2016 festival and has been aged in Palomino Fino, Amoroso and Apostoles sherry casks. Which actually goes beyond my knowledge of Sherry, so I will assume that is good.

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Boarders: Single Grain Scotch Whisky (Scottish Single Grain Whisky: 51.7% ABV)

Visual: Deep yellowed grain.

Viscosity: Many fast thick streaks.

Nose: Sugared almonds. Definite alcohol. Vanilla. Rum and raisin. Water makes smoother and more nutty. More water adds slight lemon cakes.

Body: Quite smooth mouthfeel despite the alcohol. Rum and raisin. Cardboard. Water adds raspberry liqueur. Gin. Soft lemon cake. Quite viscous still. More water makes more lemony. Some squeezed orange. Peach syrup and tinned peaches. Even more water adds pineapple chunks.

Finish: Rum and raisin ice cream. Cardboard. Alcohol air. Water adds a quite medicinal air, nutty and slightly rough. More water gives orange, lemon, watermelon Jolly Ranchers and dried apricot.

Conclusion: You really have to lay on the water with a trowel for this one. At over 50% abv for a single grain whisky that isn’t a surprise, but it is still worth pointing out. Ya know, just in case. What is surprising is that despite a distinct alcohol character you can still feel the viscous yet smooth texture to the whisky even neat. A good sign there at the start.

The rest of it – not so good neat. A slight cardboard like character, definite alcohol – you can feel a nice rum and raisin character there but it is overwhelmed by the rougher notes.

Progress with water is initially a mixed bag- rougher nutty comes came out which are kind of unpleasant and the cardboard, while it lightens, never fully goes away. On the positive side the flavour style definitely improves – less alcohol, more rum and raisin, then slowly lemon cake. Then, with more water, a full fruity burst that seems like grain whisky’s speciality style. Out comes lots of lemon, watermelon, peach – all backed by the gentle rim and raisin.

So, good? Erm, well, even with a ton of water it has those cardboard backing and rougher edges. I don’t know the age of this, but it feels young, and while I have had some very good single grain whisky over the past years; Whisky that has shocked me away from my preconceptions of grain whisky, they still seem far more reliant on age for quality than their single malt counterparts.

So, not one I can really get into. Its good points are always layered over that weak backdrop. It needs a better base before the, admittedly ok, bells and whistles can work. So not worth it, especially at the slightly higher price point this comes at. It needs a few more years I think to work out the rough edges, then maybe its strengths can shine.

Background: Like Raasay before it, this is not made at its named distillery. Instead being distilled at an unnamed Highland distillery and finished in Oloroso sherry casks. It is said to be an example of what they hope their whisky will be like when it is done. Apparently this is the only single grain scotch whisky to be made from 50% wheat and 50% malted barley. So they say. Bias warning – this was gifted to me after Independent Spirit’s Raasay whisky tasting night for me to take home and do notes on. As always I will try to not let that affect my notes. Many thanks for the whisky. This was drunk while listening to Godspeed You! Black Emperor!’s Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven – very relaxing and vibrant music for doing notes.

Glen Scotia: Victoriana (Scotland Campbeltown Single Malt Whisky: 51.5% ABV)

Visual: Deep dark gold.

Viscosity: A mix of slow to fast, thick to thin steaks. Ok, all kinds of streaks.

Nose: Chocolate toffee and gingerbread. Choc orange. Marshmallows. Light spice. Wood shaving and oak dust. Water makes more oaken and more ginger bread. More water adds coriander and coffee cake.

Body: Warming alcohol heat. Orange crème. Chocolate toffee. Water adds honey and make lightly waxy. Lime notes. More water gives light grassy notes and a touch of peaty beef mix. Coffee cake.

Finish: Tingling alcohol. Moderate oak. Fudge. Water makes for toffee, lemon cakes and mild coffee cake. Still lightly waxy. More water adds coriander, beef slices and more coffee cake.

Conclusion: Me and Glen Scotia have had an odd relationship. By which I do not mean to imply that anyone at Glen Scotia actually know I exist – I’m not that egotistical. Just that I love half of the distillers in Campbeltown – by which I mean Springbank. I want to love Glen Scotia, I love the idea of the Campbeltown area and its small dedicated few distilleries, but none of the Glen Scotia whisky have really clicked with me. Until now.

The aroma on this is excellent, mixing deep liqueur like chocolate notes with light airy marshmallow and a mix of spice and oak. The body doesn’t initially seem to follow though with that – at over 50% abv the alcohol kills the tongue too quickly to get any of the subtle notes.

Water, as it almost always does, brings out the more subtle notes. In this case subtle variants in chocolate notes, and that waxy character that seems to follow Glen Scotia, a style that gives a lot of grip to its flavours. Now it also has a slight grassyness which I have to admit I think of as the trademarked Campbeltown style. What brings it all together is the coffee cake backing – it makes if feel more classy, a touch luxurious, like a high class chocolate box done Campbeltown style- and it all leads out into a similarly balanced, but just slightly smoky, finish.

In fact the finish is where the water has done its job the most – initially overly oaken it now lays down spicy, grassy and coffee cake noes that give a mellow and savoury send off against the sweeter main body. It is all restrained, classy, and complex. Finally, the Glen Scotia whisky for me.

Background: Grabbed in mini, this is towards the more expensive end of Glen Scotia’s main range, and is a no age statement whisky bottled at quite high abv. Seen at Independent Spirit this seemed a good chance to give the not commonly found Glen Scotia another try. Drunk while listening to Massive Attack: Mezzanine, great even for Angel alone, which is a genuine legend of a song but a solid album on top of that.

Arran That Boutique-y Whisky Company Batch 4

Arran: That Boutique-y Whisky Company: Batch 4 (Scottish Island Single Malt Whisky: 52% ABV)

Visual: Nigh clear with a mix of green hints and vanilla toffee hue. Becomes hazy with water.

Viscosity: Very thin slow puckering.

Nose: Alcohol and crumpets. Rocks. Water adds heather and pepper.

Body: Warm to burning. Buttered toast. Lemon pancakes. Water makes much sweeter – golden syrup and vanilla pods. Touch of vanilla yogurt with lime as well. Fudge. More buttery.

Finish: Light lemon pancakes. Light oak. Butter. Water adds vanilla yogurt and toffee. Tins of tropical fruits.

Conclusion: I don’t think I have seen a whisky with the nose and body so much at odds for a long time. The nose is, well, a tad rough. Not just in the alcohol, that element disperses with water so isn’t that big a deal. It is the fact that it has touches of crushed rocks and pepper that kind of sticks out – it is not that appealing. Though there are soft crumpet notes in there as well, but it doesn’t quite balance.

So, how is the body? Well, neat it is mainly alcohol heat- so let’s skip straight to the part where I add the water shall we? Boom! Sweet golden syrup and vanilla pods – a real big sweetness over the kind of soft buttery base I associate with Arran, with a few lime high notes.

Unfortunately adding even more water brings the body more in line with the aroma, not heavily, but it brings out a slightly gritty character to the base. It lowers the sweetness but keeps the butteryness, which unfortunately is less capable at holding up against the newfound grit.

Still, if you keep the water on the lower end then it is a reasonable whisky that shows the strength of Arran well. Well, the body does anyway. Still, less is definitely more with water use here. Even at over 50% abv it turns far too quickly from where it works to where it is past the tipping point. It doesn’t really outdo the official bottlings i have tried – its main addition is the big sweetness with just a little water. Still, it does emphasise that buttery toast base, which is not something you see often.

So, solid body, bit of a bad aroma. Not stand out but solid enough.

Background: Ok, here we go “Ok, bias warning first: This is a part of the Masters Of Malt Whisky Calendar given to The Bath Whisky and Rum Club, part of Independent Spirit, who invited me to assist with the notes in return for uploading them to alcohol and aphorisms. Sounded a very fair deal to me. Also, due to this we each only had half of the 3cl bottle so thoughts are based on a smaller exploration than usual. On the other hand I could not say no to the chance to try so many new whiskies. Many thanks!”. Not run into ” That Boutique-y Whisky Company” though a quick googling shows that their bottles have some pretty non standard cartoon like labels. Not bad. Arran has been a nice smooth, if not always that complex, whisky for me, so I thought this may be nice. Drunk whilst listening to the haunting Ritualz CDR.

Longrow Red (2015 Ed - Pinot Noir Finish)

Longrow: Red (2015 Ed – Pinot Noir Finish) (Scottish Campbeltown Single malt Whisky: 12 year: 52.9% ABV)

Visual: Rose wine to mahogany red.

Viscosity: Fast middle thickness streaks.

Nose: Peaty. Light cherryaid. Burnt caramel. Shortbread. Water makes sulphur like, and more water brings out rose wine.

Body: Smooth. Glacier cherry. Beef broth. Alcohol tingle if held on tongue. Cherryaid. Rose wine. Thick. Treacle notes. Water adds sugared orange peel, red grapes, and seven spice. More cherryaid comes out. More water brings out more cherries and adds some vanilla.

Finish: Dried beef slices. Mixed spice. Red grapes. Dry. Light vanilla custard. Blackcurrants or blackcurrant jam. Water makes more spicy. Malt chocolate, smoke and toffee.

Conclusion: People give me evil looks when I say this has cherryaid notes. Maybe I am lacking in cooth to dare say such things. But, seriously, they are there – I’m guessing it is the unusual side of the Pinot Noir influence. They are there neat and become much more evident with water. So, cherryaid, is this a good or a bad thing?

Well, it is an odd thing. The traditional peaty, dried beef character of Longrow comes right up against artificial sugar drinks with deep red spicy grapes in the middle keeping the two opposite poles apart. Definitely not your traditional whisky experience.

Id say the sweetness is probably so prominently in my mind as it such a contrast to the rest of the whisky. It probably isn’t as sweet as I am imagining it, but in relation to the heavy peat whisky it sits within it seems very big.

The sweetness is the outlier though, so it is probably more helpful to examine the rest of the whisky. The deep spicy blackcurrant and red grapes suits the peaty character nicely, taking it into dark rich depths. It definitely suits water as well. While the whisky is smooth neat, if burning if held too long, water opens it up and lets you hold it and take your time to examine the flavours at your leisure. Water also lets out the soft toffee which acts as a more well balances sweetness than the more cherryaid notes in the neat expression, it sooths rather than stands out from the main whisky.

There still is the sweet cherryaid notes but they are better integrated. It never quite reaches the height of awesome that the gaja barolo aged Longgrow, but it definitely has depth to it. Probably has a lot of elements that some people think whisky should not be, especially a peated whisky, but it is fun and different and deep.

and cherryaid.

Background: I tried this a while back at the Bristol Whisky Show, so was keeping an eye out for it getting released. Still nearly missed it, thankfully Robbie’s Whisky Merchants still had some in – Chris from Independent Spirit point them out to me – many thanks! This was finished in New Zealand Pinot Noir casks for one year after 11 years in bourbon casks and is one of 9000 bottles. Drunk while listening to some Dirty Knobs for atmosphere.

Pearls Clynelish 17 Cask Strength

Pearls Of Scotland: Clynelish: 17 Year Cask Strength (Scottish Highland Single Malt Whisky: 17 years: 53.6% ABV)

Visual: Pale grain gold.

Viscosity: Thick fast streaks.

Nose: Light smoke. Touch of meat and broth. Varnish. Water adds old fashioned sweet shops.

Body: Thick. Touch of fire. Burnt caramelised brown sugar. Tar. Waters adds more caramel sweetness. Crème brulee. Custard pudding and toffee sponge cake.

Finish: Tar touch. Light fire. water adds cinder toffee and smoke. Pepper and touch of salt.

Conclusion: Wow, this is completely different from the last Clynelish that I tried. So does that make it a good whisky? Well, at high abv it also pushes a booming whisky to go with it, so at the very least I am not going to be complaining about it being too light.

This is chewy as hell, up front it has got a bit of smoke and meat – closer to the heavier whiskys than I would have expected. However once you get into the main body you realise that, while it is big, it is big in its sweetness – like treacle and steamed toffee pudding – very thick and full as it fills your mouth.

The two styles then combine on the way out – the smoke and the sweetness meld for a big but balanced finish. The more water you add to this, the sweeter and smoother it gets – unusually, adding too much water doesn’t seem to make the whisky thin, instead seeming to give it a too cloying sweet character, like it has finally been let off the leash. Still a reason not to add too much water, but an interesting variation on expectations.

It is an enjoyably big whisky, heavily chewable – the only problem is that, despite the contrasting sweet and smoke, it still feels somewhat one note. In everything it is very sweet – very treacle, very toffee, but no real point to relax or be released. Enjoyable to experience, but it does wear out its welcome.

So, for people who want a whisky that as big as the islands, but without the medicinal character – this could be right up your street. For me, it is a bit too one note – still fascinating, but not a favourite.

Background: Nearing the end of the Burn’s night five. This is only the second Clynelish I have had, so not much to compare it to. Also this is one of only 333 bottles, so the night was a nice chance to try a few uncommon whiskys over at Independent Spirit. As before this was part of a group tutored tasting so I may have been influenced by the people around me for my notes.

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