Signatory Vintage ‘Clynelish 1996’

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Clynelish distillery was founded in 1819 by the Duke of Sutherland, who sought to maximize his profits from the barley growing on his land. Situated a short distance from the small highland town of Brora, the distillery stands on Scotland’s stormy north-east coast.

Clynelish is known for producing a malt of rare character. It was so popular in fact that the distillery sold exclusively to private customers in it’s early days, able to completely forego the lucrative blending market. This practice couldn’t last however and by the 1960’s, demand from the big blending houses was so high, a second distillery had to be built just to keep up. Both premises ran under the Clynelish name for a time, before the original was eventually renamed Brora in the early 70’s.


While the new Clynelish distillery remains in operation today, Brora ceased production in 1983, making it’s malt something of a collector’s item in today’s market. Change is afoot however, with the announcement in late 2017 that owners Diageo plan to reopen Brora by the year 2020.

In the meantime, Clynelish remains widely available, both as a 14 year old expression from the owners and through frequent single cask expressions from independent bottlers. Bottled by Signatory Vintage, this particular release was distilled in 1996 and bottled in 2016 at 46% abv.

Smell: Pineapple, Lemon, Vanilla, Candlewax, Pepper and a light touch of Smoke.

Taste: Lots of Fruit with Vanilla and Peppery Spice. Oak and Peat Smoke right at the finish.

Value for Money: A 20 year old single malt for £50 is remarkable, especially when it comes from a character distillery like Clynelish. One of the greatest bargains I’ve come across in recent times.

Scores: 47 / 50. About the Scores…

A beautiful whisky from a distillery that rarely disappoints. Bravo to all at Signatory for unleashing this beauty at such a reasonable cost.

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