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The Wild Cat of Clynelish
10 May 2020

Clynelish distillery is located on the East coast of Sutherland in the village of Brora, an hour north of Inverness. For many it remains a bit of an unknown quantity, but for blenders and collectors, it is a distillery that elicits rare spikes of emotion. One look around this year’s Old and Rare whisky show and it was clear that older bottlings, both original and independent, are treasured by collectors, commanding high, sometimes stratospheric prices. Key to its appeal is its signature waxy character, a quirk of distilling nature that has proved very hard to decode or replicate elsewhere– a fact that goes some way to explaining why one bite from the Clynelish Wild Cat (a symbol that also appears on bottles of neighbouring Brora), tends to lead to a lifelong pursuit of this very particular flavour profile.

In 1896 Harper’s Weekly described it as “A singularly valuable property, as the make has always obtained the highest price of any single Scotch whisky" – and while we can’t confirm that now, it’s popularity with blenders shows no signs of abating. All of which is bad news for collectors, as older stocks of this heavy weight waxy character are now in scarce supply.

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