Waxy Highland Malt 1996 (Valinch & Mallet)

Waxy Highland Malt 1996 (Valinch & Mallet)

Italian independent bottler Valinch & Mallet (run by Fabio & Davide) recently presented their 100th bottling, five years after their first release, back in November 2015.

One distillery is famous for its waxy spirit character so it shouldn’t be a mystery where this 24 year-old came from.


The ‘waxy’ Highland distillery 24 yo 1996 (48,5%, Valinch & Mallet 2020, bourbon hogshead MZ01-4, 353 btl.)

Nose: well no, certainly not the most waxy of all Clynelishes. Instead it shows mineral notes (wet gravel, chalk, raw wool), yellow apples and autumn leaves with toasted bread. Laurel. Light menthol and light paraffin after a while. It’s slightly less fresh and lemony than what we’ve come to expect from Clynelish, but it’s complex and quite beautiful.

Mouth: herbal teas, leafy notes, limestone and some yeasty touches. Hints of toast again. Then a bitter edge of grapefruit peels, with some peppery / grassy punch and some slightly savoury hints as well. Moist cardboard. I would definitely place this in the Highlands, but not immediately identify it as a Clynelish.

Finish: quite long, still herbal and peppery, with a vaguely sweet note underneath and a very light salinity in the end.

An interesting release, a bit unusual for Clynelish and perhaps a little tricky to make us expect a waxy character in the description. The 1997 vintage is a lot more classical in that sense. Around € 190, but sold out in most places, as far as I can tell.