Clynelish 12 Year Diageo 2022 Special Release

Scotch Whisky Review #440: Clynelish 12 Year Diageo 2022 Special Release

Distillery: Clynelish.

Region: Highland.

Age: 12 Year.

ABV: 58.5%. Cask Strength.

Cask Types: Finished in PX and Oloroso seasoned casks.

Color: 0.7, Amber.

This dram is the fourteenth of 2022’s Christmas Countdown! Whiskies from previous years can be found here.

Nose: The first whiff of this is weird and oddly vegetal, celery is what comes to mind but there are other similar vegetable notes. After letting it rest for a bit, that note of vegetation does seem to go away. It is replaced largely with the smell of barbecue potato chips, this isn’t peated so I haven’t the foggiest clue where it is coming from though.

Palate: Drinks far hotter than 58.5% suggests, I might have guessed mid-high 60s if this was blind. After drowning it in water, it does kind of calm down a bit but remains prickly and a bit hot. It is a bit faint there is a waxy mouthfeel though definitely possible you’d get a bit more if you added less water. There’s a strong melon note that comes through first, it tastes a lot like a perfectly ripened and juicy cantaloupe melon. Some vanilla pudding comes along afterwards. Giving it a little more time to air out, a fantastic note of pistachio and white chocolate comes in as well.

Finish: Medium in length. It is a touch bitter, though not unpleasantly so, and remains a bit hot. The white chocolate and pistachio note continues from the palate and leaves a wonderful want for more.

Conclusion: I’m always cautious of sherry and Clynelish given how sherry casks tend to take the wheel and drown the base distillate. Clynelish have walked that very fine line very well here. You do get the waxy character you expect out of this distillery, though it is a bit faint. Along with it comes a slightly different set of notes from the more standard citrus and honey you might get from Clynelish, but notes that are incredibly tasty. I love melon so the cantaloupe was perfect for me and the vanilla pudding notes go along with it so well. The real star here is the pistachio and white chocolate that made me want more and more. This comes so close to greatness, its only flaw for me is that I couldn’t ever get the heat under control. Not bad at all Diageo, though perhaps not worth the price tag.

Final Score: 84.

Scotch Whisky Review #440, Highland Review #87, Whisky Network Review #595

Scoring Legend:

  • 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
  • 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky and I will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection if feasible.
  • 85-89: Very good to amazing, almost the complete product and I’m likely wanting a bottle or two.
  • 80-84: Quite good, pleasant overall though there is usually a few things that could be improved still.
  • 75-79: Good, enjoyable to drink but ultimately flawed.
  • 70-74: Alright, solid and 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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