Clynelish 14 y.o. Review

Clynelish 14 y.o.

46% abv

Score:  88/100


We all know Brora, right?  C’mon…the malt that, along with Port Ellen, rests comfortably atop the cult standings.  Well…Clynelish and Brora go together likes peas and carrots.  I’ll get to that in a moment.  The Clynelish distillery was established in 1819.  And 1967.


Okay…the current Clynelish distillery was built in 1967, right next to the old.  Later that year the original distillery was abruptly mothballed until 1969 when distillation resumed under the name Brora.  This legendary malt was produced alonside Clynelish until the the old distillery finally had her doors shuttered for good in 1983.  The younger sibling distillery has continued production to this day.

Clear as mud?  Alright, let’s move on.

This is a comfort whisky if ever there was one.  Beautiful downhome farmy nose, full of subtle notes that work exceptionally well together.  Light smoke dances with hints of lemon pepper, honeyed sweetness and mild oak.  Walnut and fresh cut hay meet chocolate ganache.  Caramel.  There is an eclair-like scent that comes and goes as well.  An odd note I keep getting that, in writing would seem to be at odds with the other notes yet somehow works is…the smell of a California Rolls (nori, avocado, etc).  Enchanting and entirely pleasing.

The delivery is firm but smooth.  The barley and oak, being prime contributors of course, sing a little louder here than in most malts we see nowadays.  They are balanced though.  We’re not talking over-oaking or bitter barley face.  Flavors are mostly dilutions of what you’ll find on the nose, sans the toffee/chocolate eclair deal.  Is that a hint of peach maybe?  And possibly a bit of a tea-like note?  Great integration.

All in all…absolutely worthwhile.  Everything a good whisky should be, and I have to admit a bit of a personal bias to this one.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

10 thoughts on “Clynelish 14 y.o. Review

  1. Robert

    Totally agree with your review. Great scotch for the price, sep. for a spring or summer dram. I’ll pick up another (or two) in a few months.

    I just got a Glenfiddich 21 for my birthday and also treated myself to Springbank 10, Compass Box Peatmonster, Dalmore 15, and, yes, the “dangerous” Yamazaki 18! I may also pick up one of the Clynelish Compass Box vats as well. A blend of Clynelish and Laphroaig sounds interesting!

  2. david

    Interesting choice. Isn’t it great to treat yourself once in a while?

    I went a bit overboard in Calgary this year, coming home with some great “prizes”. I bought a spare Amrut Intermediate Sherry after tasting it at my in-laws’, a Springband 12 YO claret wood (I was shocked it’s still available (Crowfoot flagship store), I also came back with a cask strength Big Peat. Sadly, it’s the only way I’ll likely ever drink Port Ellen, unless I win a big lottery.

    I’m still waiting on my 3 Bladnochs (2 of a 10 YO sherry at 55% and one at cask strength) that have ARRIVED in Florida. Now I’ll really look forward to my friend’s visits…

  3. Robert

    I’ve already picked up a Clynelish 14 for Spring weather, along with Ardmore TC and have an unopened Compass Box GKS-AB. Realized I need a Dalwhinnie too for the upcoming heat. Anyone able to give me an opinion on whether I should up to the DE? I really enjoy the 15.

    1. David

      I have been disappointed with the Dalwhinnie 15. Great nose but I don’t enjoy the taste. Might as well drink Cragganmore. I have not tried the distiller’s edition. Just another way for Diageo to rake in more cash…

    2. Robert

      How about a Dalwhinnie or Dalmore review? I have a Dalmore 15 I have been enjoying lately. It’s really a different sherried whisky to most of the others I have.

      1. ATW Post author

        I’ll go ya one better. How ’bout half a dozen or so Dalmore reviews in the next week or two? Have some of my notes together already, but need to kick the last of this cold before I do a final revisit and post ’em up.

        Stay tuned…

        As for Dalwhinnie…have tried a few, but have none at the moment. Will get my hands on some.

  4. Robert

    Currently sitting out under an umbrella in a comfy chair enjoying a Clynelish 14 (yes, with a bit of ice; it’s really hot out) and a fine cigar. Really a good hot weather scotch! To me this is to the Highlands as Caol Ila 12 is to Islay; a quality consistently delicious malt with a bit of refinement, but reasonably priced.

    PS – Thanks for the Dalmore reviews! Very enjoyable!

  5. Rob77

    This is a great spring/summertime dram… but I drink it with a sense of loss, as they used to bottle the 30 year old Brora special releases in the same bottles… and it reminds me how much I miss them, especially the 2004. Yum!

  6. Robert

    Now that it is actually summer (ie hot and humid), I opened a bottle I’ve had for at least 6 months. Man I really like this wonderful 14 (fourteen; vierzehn, catorce, XIV) YO scotch. Not an NAS at alllllll. And really good!!! Not some crappy 13 YO with a weird name. A real and honest to YHWH 14 (2 times 7) YO scotch. Great neat, with water, on the rocks, or in a blend. And it’s 14 years old!!! And definitely not NAS.

    Then, keeping in the Clynelish vein, I went on to NAS Compass Box Oak Cross and finally Peat Monster 10th Anniversary. NAS or AS, Clynelish is always great stuff.


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