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Review: 1994 Clynelish 20 yr.

Updated: Jan 21, 2021

1994 Clynelish 20 yr. sherry - Cadenheads - 55.4%

By the turn of the 20th century, Cadenheads (est. 1842) had grown into a well respected independent bottler. Over the next ~70 years, there were a few leadership changes and an odd fire sale before it was purchased by current owner, J. & A. Mitchell and Co. (Springbank). Today, in addition to malt they also bottle rum and gin. Some of their rum bottlings can be fairly sought after. Thanks to availability stateside along with higher proof releases and the promise not color or chill-filter, bottles of Cadenheads always get a second look from me.

Last week I took some notes on another sherried Clynelish 20 year that I absolutely loved. Let's see how this one stacks up.


Nose: Toffee. Caramel. Barrel char. Chocolate covered raisins. Sherry has taken over. Some grilled meat. Reminds me more of heavily sherried Edradour or Mortlach than Clynelish.

Flavor: Toffee. Candied apples. Then - maybe it’s the oak getting out of whack - the finish is short, hot and hollow.

Structure: It’s dense and chewy. Sometimes flabby. Until it decides to get short and aggressive in the finish.

Alcohol Integration: Couple drops of water flattened out the nose and rubbered up the palate at touch. Rubber notes can be a big miss for me. Water did help the finish, softening the oak and boozy notes. I'd still pass on the water. The aggressive finish is better than the rubber.

Score: 6 (Solid) It’s decadent. It’s expressive. You won’t be bored. It lets you know it's sherried. But at 20 years old this lacks complexity. The core distillate isn’t really singing. The structure is uneven. That said, it was rich enough up front that the glass went fast.


You May Also Dig:

Heavily sherried Edradour or Mortlach (14-20 yr)


Rating System

10 - Reevaluate The Budget

9 - Stash Two (If Able)

8 - Stash One (At The Right Price)

7 - Highly Recommend It To Strangers

6 - Solid - Above Average

5 - Acceptable For The Situation

4 - Not Vocally Complaining

3 - Anything Else To Drink?

2 - Nothing Nice To Say

1 - Drain Pour

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