Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice Clynelish 20 Year (1999)

Scotch Whisky Review #322: Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice Clynelish 20 Year (1999)

Distillery: Clynelish.

Bottler: Gordon & MacPhail.

Region: Highland.

Age: 20 Year. Distilled in 1999. Bottled in February 2nd, 2020.

ABV: 54.9%. Cask Strength.

Cask Type: Refill Sherry Hogshead.

Cask Number: 16601001

Price: Sample courtesy of /u/KissMeElon.

Color: 1.2, Chestnut/Oloroso Sherry.

Just a quick note here, while I am reasonably certain this is the whisky I tried, my notes aren’t the clearest and I may have had a different Gordon & MacPhail Clynelish aged for 20 years.


Nose: Citrus peel and raisins are the main notes here. They come out really strongly from the front. The famed Clynelish waxiness comes through heavily, which is quite nice. There’s this weird fruity funk going on as well, it almost comes across as lightly peated but that shouldn’t be the case. Perhaps it’s just a bit of old sherry that’s giving off some weird notes.

Palate: It’s fairly warm. Waxy orange candy is the main note that dominates. With a bit of water, some rich sherry comes through but the waxy orange candies are absolutely the star.

Finish: Medium in length. It’s a bit on the hot side, almost unpleasant but not quite. Oak and spiced orange drink come through heavily. A bit of spiced hot apple cider comes through as well.


Conclusion: While I love Clynelish and I love sherry cask whisky, I’m not often finding myself in love with the combination of the two. Clynelish, with it’s delicate spirit, often seems to find itself utterly suppressed by sherry. This one was interesting though as the Clynelish distillery character did shine through with that famed waxiness. Unfortunately, the end result was a bit of an one-note-wonder with waxy citrus dominating the nose and palate. There’s a weird funky note in the nose and a bit too much heat in the finish that detract from this as well. All in all, a good whisky but one with maybe one too many flaws.

Final Score: 80.


Scotch Whisky Review #322, Highland Review #60, Whisky Network Review #467


Scoring Legend:

  • 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
  • 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
  • 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection (if feasible).
  • 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
  • 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
  • 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
  • 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
  • Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.

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