Homeblend 11: Elijah Clyne

by Matti

While doing this blog, two repeat offenders have arisen from amongst the ranks. Both Elijah Craig 12yo and Clynelish 14yo have proven themselves excellent blend-participants, but for very different reasons. Elijah Craig, being a bourbon, has a very powerful taste and (like peated whiskies) is best used in moderation. What it does best is add orange (peel) and vanilla notes. I like to think of it as a finisher (you add just a splash to complete a blend). Clynelish on the other hand is quite the opposite: it works best in larger amounts, imparting a mellow quality and waxy mouthfeel and finish to whatever blend it finds itself in.

As you probably know by now, I like to go against the grain (heh, grain! it’s funny because it’s a raw material for whisky! heh! … eh.), so for this blend I decided to use the ‘finisher’ Elijah Craig as a base and top it off with Clynelish. Now, in order to not get bourbon with a fleeting thought of scotch single malt I had to fiddle with the percentages a bit, but this is what I ended up with:

A schematic representation of the whisky homeblend 'Elijah Clyne', containing Elijah Craig Kentucky Straight Bourbon and Clynelish 14yo Single Highland Malt.

I’m tasting it side by side with the Elijah Craig, since that is what it most resembles. The nose is significantly different: while the Elijah Craig is vanilla, oranges and a touch of acetone, the blend has oranges, grapes, lemons, floral honey and beeswax. A good start in my book, though I like the more ‘in-yo-face’-nose of the straight up bourbon as well.

The very first thing you taste is beeswax and honey, but then the Elijah Craig comes barging in: oranges, oak and vanilla (though all slightly toned down). The finish starts as a weaker version of the taste, but morphs into a medium-long flavour-packed affair which ends in burnt sugar and beeswax (unsurprisingly since Clynelish always adds this note to the finish of a blend).

Overall, this is a more accessible version of the bourbon. While the nose is a toss-up, the taste and finish are definitely dominated by the Elijah Craig, just sweeter and less ferocious. One very welcome effect of the Clynelish is that the blend has a much more coating mouth-feel than the bourbon on its own, which, though powerful in taste, feels a bit watery in the mouth. A true bridge between American and Scottish whisk(e)y, this gets my seal of approval: 4 drams!

Blend score: 4 Drams, Very Good

Later this week a blend that will make your fillings pop out, teeth shatter, and brain explode. Stay Tuned!