Review: Clynelish 10 Years Old 2003 26.96 Le Trou Normand

Category: Highland single malt scotch whisky

Origin: Clynelish distillery

Bottling: Scotch Malt Whisky Society Cask 26.96 Le Trou Normand

ABV: 61.4% ABV,

Cost: £49.40 for 70cl

Score: 84/100

Scotch Malt Whisky Society

What they say:

First fill Bourbon Barrel 233 Bottles, Distilled in 2003 and bottled in 2014 at 10 Years Old.

What I say:

We tried this as part of the May/Homecoming etc. whisky festivals SMWS Clans & Drams tastings. We were particularly drawn to this bottling due to its name ‘Le Trou Normand’ meaning literally the Norman hole – an aperitif of eau-de-vie (or Calvados) served mid-meal/banquet to restore the appetite. Perfect for the gastronome or those with healthy appetites. The name presumably was selected based upon the majority of flavours in this expression having some link to Normandy such as apple or pear Normandy tart usually a frangipane/almond flour pasty filled with the fruit so abundant in this region. As regular visitors to Normandy we have developed a keen understanding of the gastronomy of the region and so took to this like ducks to water…

From the Clynelish distillery (SMWS distillery #26)

Colour:

Pale gold

Nose:

Almond/marzipan, perfumed, strong spirit, vanilla custard, almond tart and crème anglais

Taste:

Oily and waxy but also young, spirit and vaporous, full of nutty almond and creamy vanilla custard, fresh apple, or baking apple, apple pie with toasted almonds and honey

Finish:

Gingery spice, medium/long with creamy and sweet flavours, becomes a little thin at the end

Would I buy it:

Actually, yes. This is the first SMWS bottling we have reviewed here at the Whiskyphiles, despite sampling whiskies too numerous to remember from the SMWS. In recent times I have had some issues with actually finding an SMWS bottle outturn that isn’t from some nth refill barrel, having that same barely golden hue regardless of age that suggests it wasn’t officially bottled as it was put into an exhausted cask in the first place. So here is one that bucks that trend and debunks my myth and harks back to the good old whiskies I used to try at SMWS that literally blew your socks off. Single cask, youngish but feisty and under £50!