Adelphi release some very good whiskies. They’re certainly one of my favourite independent bottlers, though perhaps their prices do lean towards the premium end of things on occasion. No complaint here: that’s just how they pitch themselves; my only gripe is that I am not a millionaire, which is not exactly their fault is it? The two Glover whiskies, the Glover 18 Year Old and the Glover 14 Year Old which have been their more recent experiments in world fusion whiskies, were super sexy drams, so I come to Adelphi offerings with high expectations.
However. I realised I hadn’t actually reviewed any of the regular Adelphi bottlings on Malt. I said to myself I’d do this after recent Spirit of Speyside festival tasting, too, where I got to try several more of their whiskies and found them (again) all to be really good. At that same festival, a good whisky comrade, Dave Alcock, whipped out a lovely Adelphi Port Ellen too, which we consumed back at our cottage by Tormore distillery. Good whiskies! Good times. So why the hell wasn’t I shouting about them?
I can remind you why. Despite my deep affection, my only issue with Adelphi is that they have tended to be at the premium end of independent bottlers and so aren’t always a go-to bottler for me. That said, if you’re able to divide up a bottle between a few like-minded drinkers (which is what I often do) then that makes their whiskies to be fair game. And that’s the case with this Adelphi Clynelish 1996 19 Year Old. It’s been matured in a bourbon hogshead (cask #11446) and bottled at 49.1% ABV. Only 174 were available and cost just over £100. I bought a 10cl share among friends (so the photo below isn’t actually mine).
Adelphi Clynelish 1996 19 Year Old Tasting Notes
Colour: old gold.
On the nose: lovely honey, toffee and candle wax notes. Golden syrup. Vanilla. Toffee. Stewed apples, but again such an incredible waxy and honey domination (quite Aberfeldy-esque). Mild woodiness: sawdust or pencil shavings, but it settles again to vanilla. Very pleasing.
In the mouth: waxy, viscous texture, with a gorgeous balance of sweetness and sharpness. Floral honey. Toffee fudge. Stewed pears in syrup, with an ever so slight tannic tartness, green tomatoes, and a vinegary, acidic quality. A little bit of brine, with warming ginger on a very long and waxy finish.
This is a gorgeous whisky.
What more can I say? It’s very difficult to get hold of now, but I think the lesson here is more a case of hunting out something from Adelphi. This is yet another confirmation of the very, very good quality from them. Maybe you pay a little extra (and maybe you have to, because there are some very average bottles on the market out there these days) but the whisky is going to be – more often than not – well worth it.