Clynelish 1996 vW (blind)

"A nicely priced bottling with everything that you would like from a sherried Clynelish, no surprise that it sold out pretty quickly"

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van Wees, located in Amersfoort, is one of the most famous spirit shops in the Netherlands. Maybe a short history for those who are interested. Han van Wees started as a tobacconist when he took over the shop from father, and expanded to liquor in 1963. In 1968, he got hold of a shipment of whisky coming from the a French freighter that had sunk before the coast of the Netherlands. When he tasted this whisky, he realised that this was something else compared to the blends that were normally sold in the Netherlands. When he started selling this in his shop, the news spread fast and with the increasing demand for single malt whisky, he decided to start importing brands like Glenfarclas, Macallan and Springbank. Together with his son, he started the the independent bottling series of The Ultimate in 1994, meanwhile counting up to more than 850 different bottlings. After earning the title of Keeper of the Quaich in 2000, he was recently named Master of the Quaich. If you are ever in the neighbourhood of Amersfoort, take your chance to visit the van Wees shop. Great service and many bottles open for tasting, including their own series. Today, we will have a 1996 Clynelish that came out last year and was sold out almost immediately.


Salty sherry (my first impression) and waxes, salted raisins, and brine. The coastal side is very clear. There is also leather, magazines, and a sweet undercurrent that I cannot directly point out. The sherry is very well integrated with the distillery’s spirit. Chalk and I get some metallic notes (think Ben Nevis). Red fruits! That is the sweetness I was getting, really lovely. Add to that some dried figs, prunes and other fruits, and mud.


Again very salty, leather, a few dried fruits, fairly dirty, also again those magazines, a bit of wax, well slightly more than that. Stones, chalk, sunflower seeds, fisherman’s friends, oils, copper, and not too much of the sherry, which is in my book often very good. Respect for the spirit! Not too dirty, but enough to make this interesting. Finish contains nuts, salt, oil and mud.


Although I did not recognise that from tasting blindly, this is typical Clynelish covered in a sherry sauce. I went for Bladnoch, because of the dirtiness, but in hindsight this was soo Clynelish. This directly sold out, but if they come up with another version this year and you like this style, you might watch for it. Prices at van Wees are always very decent. For me, the bourbon cask matured Clynelish’s are more to my liking.

What others thought

Competition day #17

Clynelish 1996 vW

Whiskybase: 86.66 (67 votes) Contestants: 7.6/10

This sample was part of the


these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •

Cask influence
Nose 87%
Taste 86%
Balance 85%
Depth 87%
Finish 86%