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Whisky Reviews

1989 Clynelish 31 Years Old Single Malt, Blackadder Statement Edition, 46.8% ABV

 

I recently found myself returning to the comforting embrace of Samsu Huay Kuan (三蒸會館), a snug specialty spirits bar sitting in a quiet corner of Concorde Hotel Singapore. I like this place because it offers a quiet setting amid the hustle and bustle of Orchard Road, a space with good spirits and where the chatter is subdued enough to allow for light conversation.

Word around town was that they had recently introduced a fresh line-up of bottles from Blackadder – a well-known Scotch whisky independent bottler that focuses on unfiltered single cask whiskies. For those unfamiliar, the owner of the bar is Interco-MLE which is also the official distributor for Blackadder in Singapore. As a whisky enthusiast, I felt it was almost my duty to give them a try.

Here's another Clynelish, an indie bottler’s favourite. The Highlands distillery has been functioning rather discreetly for many years, supplying their whiskies to Diageo as a foundational spirit for blends such as Johnnie Walker Gold Label. Though not always in the limelight, Clynelish is renowned among enthusiasts for its distinctive profile, notably the characteristic waxy notes in its single malts.

Let’s turn our attention to this bottle.

Clynelish 31 Years Old Single Malt, Blackadder Statement Edition, 46.8% ABV – Review 

 

Colour: Yellow gold, hinting at an ex-Bourbon cask maturation.

Nose: Pretty darn complex. Bright and rich, there's a deep scent of honey, vanilla and caramel. The hallmark Clynelish waxiness is evident, but it leans towards a savoury peanut butter. Light hints of gasoline cut through, complimented by the familiar sweetness of Pokka Honey Green Tea.

Palate: I’m a little bit surprised by the initial notes which are dominated by oak and a pronounced spiciness. The whisky takes a second to fully express itself with a surge of heavy menthol, alongside honey, sweet vanilla and maltiness. Adding several drops of water shifts the experience quite a bit. Brighter notes emerge, offering clarified apple juice, the familiar Clynelish waxiness, and bright fruity hints of melon and tangerine.

Finish: Long and enduring. The flavours slowly recede, leaving traces of vanilla, dry oak, aromatic wood, and a final touch of savoury peanut skins.

 

My Thoughts:

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This Clynelish packs a punch. It’s complexity shines mainly in the nose and finish. On the palate, though it's a rather oak-forward rendition of Clynelish. So, this one would be up your alley if you're someone who's not keen on overly sweet notes and appreciates a solid oaky touch in your whisky.

Adding a bit of water makes a world of difference and brings out its fruitier aspects.

@CharsiuCharlie