Highlands region – 53.5%ABV – US only — Price: unknown at this point.
Many of us here in the states have not heard of the Exclusive Malts or The Creative Whisky Company who are responsible for bottling this selection of single casks. The Exclusive Malts range is a new range to the US brought to this side of the pond by the fine folks at ImpEx Beverages.
So, what makes this line of whiskies so special? I’d say it comes down to David Stirk, owner of The Creative Whisky Company, and his ability to consistently choose and bottle fine and fun casks of whisky, both young and old. In the UK and EU, Mr. Stirk is known for bottling good hooch; I’m just glad that he and ImpEx are working together to bring some of these bottlings our way.
I was sent 5 samples in all from ImpEx (thanks again!) and we will launch the review of the Exclusive Malts range with this 15yo Clynelish. Bottled at cask strength and matured in what I assume is an ex-bourbon cask – the bottle simply says “aged in oak.”
On to the review; begin the begin:
On the nose – Quite a classic representation of Clynelish – waxy smelling, a touch of smoke, lemon bars and paraffin. Bright wood spice nose – a house in the framing stage of being built – fresh sawn wood.
A touch of mild mustard seed. Actually, if one could figure out a way to candy mustard seeds, I imagine it’d smell a bit like this.
Fresh tropical fruits and some crushed pecans (sans any bitter nut skin). Boy, nut skin just sounds wrong – forget I even mentioned nut skin. Seriously, stop with the nut skin!! *Why* are you obsessing…
Some warmed caramel or perhaps the caramel from a Milky Way bar.
On the mouth – Oh, hell yes. Warming and oily mouth feel. Much of what we got on the nose with a touch of hayseed to boot.
Waxy, spicy (not overly so)… Actually, the spice is increasing here — if you’ve ever had Dailuaine, the level of spice is similar to Dailuaine. Very nice.
Plastic candy wrappers, wax wrappers for vanilla caramels.
Finish – From mouth coating and oily to a medium length, slightly drying finish (like biting into a red grape seed).
In sum – Here is where knowing how to bottle a good cask at the right time pays off. This is a great whisky that’s both easy going but also has wonderful levels of complexity to it. At 53.5% ABV, it’s not hot at all… very approachable and perfect for a weekend morning pick-me-up. Start your day with this one (so long as you’re not driving or operating heavy machinery… or have to vote).