Dram Review: Cask of Distinction Clynelish Aged 35 Years Exclusively Bottled for Aaron Chan (Cask No. 2566)

[52.2%・35 Years Old・Distilled in 1983・Bottled in 2018・Official Bottling・Cask No. 2566・Single Cask Release of 144 Bottles]

Nose:

Ahhh, the nose is immediately captivating with this dense matured musk; mahogany furniture heavily and meticulously wax polished.  There are some savoury notes settling over the fruits, wood fired bell pepper and capsicum, whilst a mushroom-y note peels off to reveal the sugar coated dried fruits, smoked bacon and minerals.  The nose changes in time to let off a perfume-y aroma and weights heavier with a creamy base.

Palate & Finish:

A expressive, vibrant offering of bouquet fruits and spring carnival flowers, the sweetness is immensely rich and enticing with dried apricots, candied oranges and mango cubes; whilst the barley and oak provide a clean, effortless balance to the charming flow of nectar.  The mid-palate conveys more of the Sherry creaminess, with leather and icing sugar subtly brush on as the oak begins to assert its drying touch.

The lingering fruitiness elongates with some Italian herbs, wonderfully satisfying with the waxy aftertaste and perhaps a faint suggestion of smoke

Thoughts:

What a dram.

An ever changing nose that fascinates, a lavishly pleasuring palate and a deeply satisfying finish.

My sincere thank you to Mr. Chan and his business partners for choosing to make this bottling happen.

The decision to bottle a cask like this under the Cask of Distinction program cannot be purely commercial, there must be some inherent appreciation towards the distillery and there must be a desire to possess something truly special, something so great it warrants the conversation of whether this is one of the best ever from Clynelish.

For me this is very close to scoring three stars..

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Cask of Distinction Clynelish Aged 21 Years Exclusively Selected by Boyao Zhao (Cask No. 7555)

[56.7%・21 Years Old・Distilled in 1997・Bottled in 2018・Official Bottling・Cask No. 7555・Single Cask Release of 405 Bottles]

Nose:

Initially withheld, Christmas spices and toffee, dates and raw almonds. Candied oranges and subtle black cherries joined by minerals and a soft cigar smoke.

Palate & Finish:

A umami saltiness strikes an impression amidst the cherries and spices, the cream Sherry inspired toffee note carries candied oranges and roasted almonds, as strawberry sauce drizzles over subtle brush of candle wax.

A layered and coherent finish of blackcurrant, cinnamon and minerals as the oak slowly impresses a dryness.

Thoughts:

A sophistically designed bottle with the whisky inside specifically selected by and bottled for Mr. Boyao Zhao of China, the refilled Sherry hogshead is rather sensible, not overly relying on spirit characters with the Sherry influence clean but restrained. Another good one from the solid 1997 vintage.

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Cask of Distinction Talisker Select Cask Aged 27 Years Exclusively Bottled for The Whisky Big Nose (Cask No. 2088)

[58.3%・27 Years Old・Distilled in 1991・Bottled in 2018・Official Bottling・Cask No. 2088・Single Cask Release of 240 Bottles]

Nose:

The dram comes across as being especially brine-y and smoky, wood smoke from smoking rock salt rubbed bacon, an explicit dose of barbecue rub along with the oak staves. Mushed dark fruits and figs hang in the background.

Palate & Finish:

The palate packs a powerful punch from the condensed syrupy dark fruits, quite spicy as the poached figs run into squid ink and ashes. A chewy wet oak note arrives with ground pepper later on.

A seaweed-y and woody finish with the brown sugar evening out the tingling spices..

Thoughts:

This Talisker has been selected by the famed Keeper of the Quaich Mr. Steven “The Whisky Big Nose” Lin, at 27 years old and finished in a hogshead, the nosing of the dram is indeed quite distinctive and there is a certain masculine bruteness to it. I imagine this would pair quite well indeed with a heavier style cuisine.

✓ [Recommended if you like the distillery/style]

-Nicholas