Tonight was time to start my Christmas season of tasting. It's been a while since I had a Clynelish so I decide to open a bottle I bought about 3 or 4 years ago, an Hart Brothers finest collection Clynelish distilled in November 1998 and bottled in January 2013. This my first whisky since the epic tasting of last week.
As I was saying , this is the first dram from the bottle.
Nose: The first impression is a massive rush of strawberry followed immediately by mandarin and fruit of passion. Then you have vanilla, oak and salt. After my glass has rest for 10 minutes some wood spices appeared with quite some mint.
Palate: Right from the start there's a rush of white pepper, cayenne pepper with a load of oak ( too much). The fruits are not well defined. Then there is a lot of hot dried ginger with salt. With air, and making more saliva, it becomes like a lemon/banana cream and the oak is now integrated with a cardamom note (not the soapy style). That was preceded by the strawberry, Macmyra style. The malt is also stronger on the mouth in a good way.
Finish: The finish is medium with a general sweetness giving a candied apricot note. The lenght is medium.
Balance: Balance is great on the nose. On the palate it change from so so to very good with time and it stays like that for the finish.
Conclusion: The nose is great from the beginning to end, but the palate seems very sensitive to air. It is best with a bit of it but it goes southway with too much, except if you are a Macmyra fan. I will choose to gas this one. For me, Clynelish usually has tropical fruit. So this one was well selected in that regard but it is not as coastal as other expressions. The flavors are good, but this whisky seems fragile, unstable, so I would approach it with precaution.