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Clynelish 14 Year Old

Almost like a gentle, mild-mannered cousin to the Islay malts

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@jdcookReview by @jdcook

20th Nov 2009


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

This is the Douglas Laing & Co 'Old Malt Cask' bottling (not the one pictured).

The smell is initially sea salt, peat, smoke and even a hint of iodine, but gives way to a fruity, vanilla, toffee sweetness. Despite having such strong sounding flavours, it is a genuinely gentle nose. So much so, that after the glass of Smith's 8 Year old, I had to have a glass of water to clear my palate enough to smell anything! Really complex and enjoyable, just not very strong.

The taste is gentle like the nose, but warms nicely and has all the same initial notes - sea salt, peat and smoke. This gives way to subtler notes of caramel fruitiness, with hints of maple syrup. This malt has an unusual taste to it I find hard to describe - it is like the taste of ice, but not cold. This taste balances out the savoury peat, smoke, and the caramel sweetness to give it a refreshing note. Just a hint of spirit buzz right at the end. Mouth-watering, gentle and very complex!

The finish is the strongest part! And while it is long and warming like any good finish should be, it is still fairly restrained. Not much peat in the finish, but plenty of sea salt and smoke, with caramel sweetness in the background.

I was fairly blown away by this malt. It's like an Islay malt, but gentle and mild-mannered! It is too gentle to have after a lot of other malts, even some fairly gentle speysides, but if you get to this one first, it is genuinely fantastic!

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Dougful commented

This sounds terrific, a great review. This plus the beginner's whisky guide article have put this on on my map and my wishlist.

jdcook, I know it has been a while since this review, but i'm curious what other single malts you might compare to this one that may have a similar flavor profile?

13 years ago 0

jdcook commented

@Dougful - this one is pretty unique really. It's almost someone took a mix of gentle speysiders and some of the heavier highlanders and put them together just right, and added some unique twists. That ice taste (which I've since heard someone describe as a 'blue ice' taste) is completely unique, and really sets this apart. But really what other malt has peat, smoke, sea salt and iodine, but us light, subtle and gentle? Certainly worth looking at, but do remember it is the Douglas Laing and Co bottling...

13 years ago 0

ewhiskey commented

Love your review as much as I love this malt. I'm a huge fan of the unique balance of many notes Clynelish 14 offers that usually hold their own.


10 years ago 0

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