Clynelish distillery, much like Talisker on the isle of Skye, traces its roots to the heyday of the infamous Highland Clearances. The distillery was created by the Duke of Sutherland who evicted local crafters in order to make money off the land he owned around Brora.
In 1968, with expansion in mind, an entirely new distillery was constructed across the road, mimicking the size and shape of the original stills to ensure an identical spirit was produced. The new site kept the Clynelish name while the original was renamed Brora, and continued to produce spirit until it’s closure in 1983. Since then, the Brora malt has gained a cult following amongst collectors with bottles changing hands for thousands of pounds.
Clynelish remains in operation today however, with an excellent 14 year old the main release from current owner Diageo.
Such is the depth of the Clynelish character, the spirit is hugely popular amongst blenders and from time to time, casks find their way into the hands of independent bottlers like Berry Bros & Rudd.
Berry Bros & Rudd has operated from it’s flagship store in St. James Street, London since 1698. Holders of two royal warrants, they count Lord Byron and William Pitt the Younger amongst their customers of old. Today, as well as managing the Glenrothes single malt brand, they bottle a variety of single cask, single malts from multiple distilleries.
Bottled at 55.5%, the Clynelish was distilled in 1997 and bottled in 2014, from cask number 6871.
On the nose there’s Vanilla, Honey, Fresh Orange, Lemon and Barley with Candlewax and a touch of Bonfire Smoke. The palate meanwhile is Salty and Briney with Creamy Vanilla, Heather Honey and subtle wafts of Peat Smoke that meander throughout.
The Scores: About the Scoring System…
Smell: Vanilla, Honey, Fresh Orange, Lemon and Barley with Candlewax and a touch of Bonfire Smoke.
Taste: Salty and Briney with Creamy Vanilla, Heather Honey and subtle wafts of Peat Smoke that meander throughout.
Value for Money: Came in around the £60 mark – not a lot to pay for a mature single malt of this character and quality – bottled at cask strength and without chill filtering.
Overall: 44.5 / 50.
In many ways it’s a great example of how to do the simple things well. Good quality spirit matured in a decent bourbon cask for a good amount of time and naturally presented. Great stuff – and exactly what I’ve come to expect from Berry’s.