Friday, January 7, 2011

Review: Clynelish Distiller's Edition 1992

Pictured above is a view of my backyard.  For an idea of what it looks like in late summer/early Fall try my review of Balvenie Doublewood.  Judging from the above photo, I am sure you can surmise that winter has arrived.  She is here, but her arrival is late and sadly she doesn't tend to stay long.

You see, when I was a kid in the mid-1970's, Mistress Winter would arrive with her white legions, frosty gaze, cold air about her and she would stay.  I mean snowbanks were typically five feet high and remained the whole season.  From early November till mid-March she visited.  Rusty, yellow painted front-loaders piled snow high in the center of the court in front of my house, maybe 12 feet high.  After the loader left, I and my friends would dig quite extensive tunnels that would probably have impressed the Vietcong

Those days are gone.  I'm 44 years old, and I can attest to the existence of global warming.  When Winter arrives now, she's a total tease!  In the evening as I look out my window at the blizzard of her arrival, I am fantasizing about my snoblower doin' a number on her, clear that driveway right down to the pavement!  But, damn! I get up in the morning and she's like . . . gone.  She has melted from my driveway, left my life, hell, left me standing there in the morning sun glow of my glistening driveway thinking was last night's winter storm just a dream?

When she is here, we go for long hikes through snow packed trails, snow shoe, ski, toboggan, we do it all.  Afterwards, I like to get inside the house and warm myself with Clynelish Distiller's Edition 1992 by the fire.

Clynelish Distiller's Edition 1992 (special release: Cl-Br: 172-4i)

Nose (undiluted)
Apples, sherry and an elegant perfume of cherries.

Palate (undiluted)
Velvet flavors of high quality sherry heavily blankets the palate like how a snowstorm envelopes a sleeping city at night.  Sweet, very rich cherries and blackberries coat the palate before a slight drying transition to brandy and a little corona cigar smoke.  A slice of dark, rich fruitcake in a tumbler.  Hmm, if there was ever a winter/Christmas dram, this is it.

Finish (undiluted)
Malt and spice adorn a sherried taste with a touch of smoke.

General Impressions
Good stuff!  No obvious flaws.  Initially, kinda sweet though.  So, not something you would want to sip weeknights.  It's quite different from Clynelish 14 years, a stellar single malt, in my ever modest, delicate and restrained opinion. 

I prefer the 14 year old to this Distiller's Edition.  While the DE is very good, it lacks the fragrant and pixie light flavor profile that is truly a delight to experience with the Clynelish 14 year old.  The Distiller's Edition has complexity of flavors, but not to the degree that the 14 owns.  The 14 is lighter and able to be more nuanced.  The DE is just there, like a Mac Truck, big grill and all, demanding you move the hell out of its way, or get run over by its big sherried smoke, malt and fruitcake chassis. 

Price Point
Very expensive.  If it has a flaw, it would be the price.  Damn expensive.  For less money, I could have enjoyed Highland Park 18 or Glenlivet 18 year old, which happen to be two great single malts that I would opt for in any sort of head-to-head Pepsi Challenge with this malt. 

Clynelish Distiller's Edition is a very good single malt with no obvious flaws other than price.  It is smooth, yet textured enough to make the whole tasting experience interesting.  Warming, big too at 46% abv, sherried, but fortunately drying with some smoke on the finish meaning satisfaction if given as a gift to a whisky nut.  The flavor profile is big, so may overwhelm the novice.

My drink is gone, but luckily not my mistress . . .

. . .but then again, the evening is young!


Jason Debly

Copyright © Jason Debly, 2009-2011. All rights reserved.


  1. Keep up with the reviews. They help beginners like me, after buying a Label 5. Next bottle will be different, I promise.

  2. Thanks Robert! I will, and thank you for posting and reading!

  3. We've got some wet snow coming down here in Baltimore right now. Certain is strange that the frozen north doesn't look much different from the south.

    I sat down with a dram of Balvenie doublewood just before I opened this up, so it was kind of funny that that was mentioned in your first paragraph. Is the similar sherry/orange/spice flavor profile the reason you chose to echo that post with another picture of your back yard?

    Nice writing as usual. Cheers. -Jon

  4. Yup! Jon, sherry and orange spice is just the ticket for a winter's night. Warms me up great! Happy shoveling!

  5. Just sitting down with a glass of the 1993/2010 DE for my Christmas Eve dram. You're right, it is a very good Christmas dram. Best wishes for the holidays and the New Year.