Review: Single Cask Nation Clynelish 9, Ledaig 13, Ledaig 15, Glenburgie 20, Clynelish 23, and Cameronbridge 26

Review: Single Cask Nation Clynelish 9, Ledaig 13, Ledaig 15, Glenburgie 20, Clynelish 23, and Cameronbridge 26

Our fourth round of independent bottlings from new Scotch whisky producer Single Cask Nation starts now, with a sextet of releases just now hitting the market. (A pair of releases that were part of this outturn, from Imperial and Port Dundas, were unfortunately not available for review.)

Single Cask Nation Clynelish 9 Years Old – North Highlands whisky, distilled January 2010, aged in a first-fill bourbon barrel, and bottled March 2019. Spicy and malty in equal proportion, the nose pops with pepper and baking spices, with a slightly smoky barrel char character. On the palate, a swirl of savory and sweet elements evolves, bready and spicy, with notes of red pepper (and ample heat). Water is a solid idea, helping to coax out notes of brown sugar, cardamom, and bit of a barbecue influence. Not overly serious, but fun stuff and great quality for a nine year old. 221 bottles produced. 116.2 proof. A- / $110

Single Cask Nation Ledaig 13 Years Old – Isle of Mull whisky, distilled October 2005, aged in a second-fill sherry butt, and bottled March 2019. Light smoke notes kick things off on the nose, with an undercurrent of spiced orange peel. There’s a touch of smoked pork here too, giving the aroma a quite savory construction. On the palate, the whisky is considerably sweeter, with the sherry note dominating more fully, providing a more intense spray of citrus. Water brings this out with more clarity, with notes of nougat and baking spice folded in. The smoke fades away almost completely, finding an echo only on the modest yet engaging finish. A lovely specimen. 575 bottles produced. 114.2 proof. A- / $135

Single Cask Nation Ledaig 15 Years Old – Distilled in February 2004, aged in a refill bourbon hogshead, and bottled in March 2019. More peat is evident on the nose here, along with a distinctly meaty, barbecued beef character. The palate is fairly approachable at full proof, offering few surprises on the smoldering road toward its smoky-beefy conclusion — save for a spike of lemon peel and brandied cherry on the finish. Not altogether memorable. 284 bottles produced. 111.4 proof.  B / $160

Single Cask Nation Glenburgie 20 Years Old – Highlands malt, distilled December 1998, aged in a second-fill bourbon hogshead, and bottled March 2019. This is an iconic representation of a well-aged, cask strength, bourbon-barreled single malt. Racy on the nose without water, a cereal element dominates alongside a gentle, rolling, barrel-driven note. On the palate and at full proof, the whisky showcases notes of almond, coconut, and brown butter, with a gentle grain character smoldering underneath. Go easy with the water and you’ll find new and lovely notes of lemon peel, red pepper, and rhubarb — though the finish is a bit greener around the edges than I’d like. 235 bottles produced. 117.8 proof. B+ / $220 

Single Cask Nation Clynelish 23 Years Old – Distilled September 1995, aged in a second-fill oloroso sherry butt, and bottled March 2019. This much older Clynelish, aged in sherry barrels, shows a much different side of the distillery. Vibrant, classic sherry notes on the nose blow off to reveal notes of mint and walnut, while the palate folds in a more austere character. Elements of furniture polish and cloves give the finish a curious pungency. 580 bottles produced. 104.8 proof. B+ / $265

Single Cask Nation Cameronbridge 26 Years Old – Single grain whisky from this Highlands-based operation, distilled September 1992, aged in a refill sherry butt, and bottled March 2019. Old grain whisky has a certain austerity to it, and this one, more than a quarter-century in age, is no exception. The nose sees notes of butterscotch and spice, lemon peel, overripe fruit, and cedar box, while the palate is, as is common in grain whisky, heavy on the barley but sweetened up like a Kellogg’s breakfast cereal. The finish is a little overpowering, the sherry influence hitting especially hard. 449 bottles produced. 106.6 proof. B / $225

Single Cask Nation Clynelish 9 Years Old




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.

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