The Journeyman #7: Sly Lichen (Clynelish), 2010 Dramfool 59%


Clynelish Distillery near Brora in the Highlands of Scotland produces some of the finest Single Malt in the world. Originally a product of voracious landowners, staffed by workers little more than indentured serfs, it outgrew its dark history towards the end of the 19th century when it was purchased by Ainslie & Heilbron.

Once being Scotland’s most highly- priced Single Malt, in 1925 it was acquired by DCL (now Diageo) a second distillery wa built right next to it in 1968. The original distillery was renamed Brora and therafter focused on a more peated malt, while the Clynelish we know today is the product of the second distillery.

Clynelish spirit has a waxy character like oilskins and hunting jackets, something unusual in today’s Single Malts. With salty and mineral notes on palate, it is this unique style that keeps the spirit highly prized by Single Malt fans and blenders alike.

Established in 2015 by Bruce Farquhar, his philosophy of “bottling whisky I like” runs counter to the idea of bottling only things that will sell. This extends to changing the name of some of the bottlings for some fun wordplay but also to take attention away from the distillery. The encouragement is to not take it so seriously – just open, drink and enjoy this marvelous beverage.


Tasting notes are a guideline only, you may describe it differently.


Big up front but mellows out after the first sip. Mimics the nose, with additional red fruit and green tea.


Herbal, going on to a variety of sweet and spicier notes.


Long with the warming spices winning out. A fascinating example from this wonderful distillery.