It's rare that I go to the store, buy a newly-released whisky at retail price, bring it home, and then enter it into the database under "Collectors Only." This may be the first whisky in the USA to sell out before any consumer ever tasted it.
Why? K&L Wine Merchants has embarked on an enthusiastic cask-and-batch-purchasing spree, and so far it's been well-received. So, in the summer of 2010, when K&L announced they were bringing in an exclusive 27-year-old cask-strength Clynelish for $115.99 (and $99.99 for whisky club members), it didn't take long for all 258 bottles to sell out as a pre-arrival. At either price, all signs pointed to "great deal." And hopefully a great whisky.
So this is somewhat of an instant collectors item, and at least in one respect an historic USA bottling. But how will it be remembered? Well, indications will appear below. - Adam
N: Opens slowly onto lemon and moss, then bright fruity white wine, beeswax, and banana Runts candy. P: Oh yeah, big fruit action, kinda mixed berry like the dust at the bottom of a bag of candy, or Fruit Stripe Gum. It's even better when you gulp it down with lots of air, amplifies the flavor. F: Banana pudding, with a pleasing burn. Excellent stuff with a style that you just don't find too often.
[Note added in response to note added by Adam (I ain't afraid to confront pompous know-it-all tasters by name): The first time we tasted this Adam was so unsure of his palate that he thought it had been tainted by his prior meal. So he had to taste it again a few days later. Well, guess your palate was just as wrong the second time. Trust not the reviews those without confidence of palate, for they shall lead ye down the path of missed fine malts.
And in response to the last comment, Adam is just trying to defend his obviously off the mark review by attacking me. Clearly inhaling through the mouth does amplify the flavor of all whisky, but it also amplifies the burn doubly so. Hence doing so is not usually recommended. I found with this whisky, however, that the flavor is amplified in a pleasing way relative to the burn. Hence I decided to comment on it. I didn't feel it necessary to add all that explaination, knowing our readers are smart enough to get it.]
Nose is oaky, with a little tarry smoke, white pepper. As it opens up, there are definite Indian spices (cardamom, curry). Water brings out mazto ball soup.
The palate is nice. Medium-to-almost-quite sweet, depending on the sip, and that sweetness comes/goes in waves all the way through the lengthy finish. Actually surprisingly sweet for its age, and that's balanced nicely against the very-present-but-not-overpowering or over-bitter oak. With expected generally spicy stuff. Finish gets salty, which water brings out more of.
This is definitely best with a few drops of water.
Overall it's an interesting whisky with moderate complexity, and it hits my palate as good not great. The first couple sips are most impressive, then it tends to fade and get less tasty. B+ for the sip test but B for the glass test(s).
[Added after reading a review by an unnamed dingus: I do not taste a single hint of banana. PS: Protip: Inhaling through the mouth amplifies the flavor/nose of all whiskies.]
Nose: Sweet and light with some fruit. Palate: Pow, right in the kisser! Deep malt flavors with some sweet hay and grass, some mildew (in a good way); lots going on, all of it in the malt/flora kingdom. Water brings out the sweetness, which gives a good accent to the malt.
This is a huge, punchy whisky with all the strong, malty characteristics that Clynelish is known for. The only flaw is that it's very light on the nose, but the flavor mostly makes up for that.
Nose was sugary and sweet malts. Tasted krispy cream glaze right off the bat and it seemed unmistakable to me. With water came more malty notes...thanks to Adam for hinting at the water...it really did help. Thanks to dingus for the protips....