Wait a second, it’s also near my birthday!… a month ago. So as is custom, I dressed up in my favourite clown costume and headed out to the bar.
I kid, it’s more of a pub. The Feathers Pub, to be exact. Yes, I finally got around to it again, because it’s my birthday.
So this year we started with Clynelish 27 1974 Signatory Vintage. Simple enough, right? Start with a Clynelish.
Well.. there may be a bit of an issue. I may have goofed.
You see in 1974 Brora was still running. Brora was changed up to make heavily peated whisky to fill the lack of peated whisky on the market by drought on Islay (yes the heavily peated years stopped in 1973, however, 1974 still had some peat to Brora). And as you may also know Brora used to be called Clynelish, and the new Clynelish was then called Clynelish, and they handled similar casks, and some things that were marked as Clynelish A and some were Clynelish B. Mixups are bound to happen. At least that’s what someone mentioned to me when I started… noticing things about this release.
Ominous, no? Yeah, I’m only 6 weeks behind, that extra time helps with the writing.
Let’s see how this tastes, shall we?
Price: No longer available
Distilled: February 18th, 1974
Bottled: September 25th, 2001
Cask Number: 2570
Cask Type: Oak (thank goodness, I was worried it was Birch)
Colour: 7.5Y 9/6
Note: Mango truffles, vanilla pudding, tangerine, lilac, light wax
Immediately tropical, creamy, and rich. Lots of vanilla, some fruit, and oh! Look! I picked out wax! Well after adding water I did, but I did! I’m pretty bad at that!
Some floral aspects to balance out the fruit/sweetness. Nice to nose on.
Taste: Juicy peach, saltwater taffy, dark chocolate, spruce
Alright, this is where we get weird. The nose? Totally Clynelish. Taste? We have salt, dark chocolate, and even some spruce. Totally peated. I’m confused.
I start looking around to make sure there’s no one throwing a smoke party or maybe forcing BBQ ribs into my face or even if the bar is, in fact, on fire. All of these come up false. I check to make sure I didn’t, in fact, eat an entire smoked fish in between nosing and drinking this. Again, false. I then check to make sure I’m not John Malkovich in Being John Malkovich. Turns out I’m just balding.
Finish: Cinnamon hearts, fresh apple pie with vanilla ice cream, mint, brine, anise
Long. Very long. And here’s where the peat really takes over. At least what I think is peat. Maybe it’s char from the “oak cask”. Who knows. Tons and tons of vanilla, herbal mint strength, more brine.
I check to make sure mischievous goblins are not switching the alcohol in my mouth, and then that I’m not having a stroke. Pants aren’t down, not having a stroke. This is really peaty.
Conclusion: Maybe there was too much peat? I mean, is there such a thing? Yes, yes there is.
I ordered this expecting a nice Clynelish that (seemingly) was aged in an ex-bourbon cask, and instead, I got the kind of dram that you never have as the first thing in the night.
Beyond being shocked out of my gourd and pondering the existence of monsters or spontaneous smokers, this is an odd dram. Starts out totally like Clynelish. Lovely tropical. And then switches right in the middle to a brash Islay-esque beast of a dram.
Now I love tons of peat, so it was lovely to have. There’s some fruit and vanilla and complexity. But it’s not balanced in the least. This could be ten years younger for all I know. I love it, but the premium you’ll pay isn’t going to be as legendary as the price (not that price factors into my score).
Scotch review #1059, Highland review #177, Whisky Network review #1650