Coastal Highland Single Malt
Continuing on from my last Clynelish review of an 8 year old SMWS bottling, is the 14 year distillery release bottle. It’s a standard that I use to base many of my malt reviews ever since I was put onto the bottle by a local whisky shop.
I don’t have a ‘daily drinker’ per se but this bottle is good candidate. I’ve purchased a few bottles over the years and each time I pour myself a dram, I know I’m going to sip and enjoy. This is going to be a difficult review because I’m so familiar with this whisky.
Rested for ~5 minutes with no dilution. Deep copper color with medium density legs in the glass.
Clynelish familiar nose. Floral, fruity and delicate. The malts and cereal grains come through with a character unique to the distillery. There’s a salty, savory note like fatty, oily, rich cashews. Cracked peppercorns, nutmeg. A green floral aroma like dandelion greens and cherry blossoms. The fruit comes through as sultanas and pears to me with a very light touch of citrus oils. Finally, a clover honey sweetness.
Ginger spice kick with more of the fresh peppercorns on the palate. Viscous and velvety texture. Simple malts yet complex in composition. The grains are distinct. Sweet but not overly so. Honey and ginger snap cookies. Soft lavender. Slightly yeasty like a fresh loaf of warm bread. Creamed butter. The dried, preserved fruit flavors come across more like a syrup reduction or jam of apricot, lemons, and currents.
The baking spices come through well on the finish with some heat. A more bitter side to balance out the sweet notes of the palate. More cask influence and you can really start to taste the age despite the proof. Tobacco, grassy and green. Well worn, oiled leather. Earth, nutty quality like toasted walnuts. Shorter finish than I would have preferred.
Why do I love this bottle? Mostly because of the whisky’s texture. Its rich and oily mouthfeel is phenomenal for a 46% whisky. It’s a bottle I highly recommend to a scotch newcomer.
At the $50 price point that I purchased my bottles at, it’s an easy recommendation for everyone. After the tariff headaches, the new price seems to have landed at over $70 and is sticking. It gets a bit more difficult to suggest a $70 whisky for most beginners and instead direct them more toward a bottle like Classic Laddie instead.
For me, I will just have to pay the higher price because it’s a whisky that will always belong on my shelf.