The first-ever independent bottling from tiny Dutch craft distillery Cley is absolutely brilliant. The company responsible for it, The Barrel Baron, picked a top-notch cask and presented it in a very classy way! Instead of continuing my rave, however, I gotta throw in a rather dry and boring interlude now. Cause next up comes a disclaimer: From November 2020 onwards, I have been running the German social media profiles for Cley Distillery. At any time, I have been doing this for free and out of my own initiative to support my friend Paul den Dulk, who makes the whisky. Against this background, I would like to ask you to keep the following in mind when you read on: While I am not an employee of Cley Distillery, I am quite closely associated to it. So one might argue that I could be a little “star-struck” here; but on the other hand, one might also see it like this: If I would not be such a huge fan of Cley, I would probably spend my spare time in another way then helping them spread the word about their wonderful whisky. Anyway, now that this has been addressed, let me pick up where I left off in the beginning: This is indeed a brilliant whisky that is expertly crafted and beautifully double-matured. After an initial three years in an ex-bourbon barrel, the liquid was transferred into an Oloroso quarter cask. There, it remained for another 1.5 years absorbing lots of color and, especially, flavor! In a pre-release blind tasting hosted by The Barrel Baron, many participants did apparently take the Cley 4yo Oloroso for a 10+ years old Scotch. There is a good chance that I would have agreed with them if I had been present that day … after all, this is one helluva impressive and expressive dram that bears a lot of potential for surprise!
Eye: Rusty bronze.
Nose: Super-juicy and fruity with an abundance of red berries and amaretto cherries as well as lots of lemon jelly and elderflower juice. Additionally, there’s a wealth of brighter aromas as well: strawberry milkshake, vanilla cupcake, rum truffle, and caramel crème. Also a good amount of sultanas. And some wood and spice from the sherry cask.
Palate: Full of stature, full of flavor! Whereas the first sip is kind of on the light side, the spirit becomes more able-bodied with every additional moment it remains on the palate. Flavor-wise, this 4.5-years-old offering from Cley Distillery produces, among others, crunchy apples, black currant jam, licorice sticks, lime slices, cocoa powder, ginger shreds, English wine gum, and icing sugar. The complexity is surprisingly high in this young Dutch malt and the actual age is well disguised by the liquid’s sensational depth and balance.
Finish: Towards the end, the whisky steps out of the fruit n’ berry zone. Instead, it becomes more crunchy and chewy. Now, it provides toasted raisin bread, burnt brittle, brown sugar, crumbled cookie, and roasted walnut. Also candy floss, chocolate sprinkles, and yeast dough pastry. These thick and sturdy notes echo in the throat for a long time, constantly reminding us of how good a dram we just sipped!
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Region: The Netherlands
Age: 4 years
Alc. volume: 55 per cent
Cask type: Oloroso sherry quarter cask
# of bottles: 114
Bottle size: 0.5 litres
Price range: ~75.00 Euro
More info: https://www.cleydistillery.com/ (Distillery) ; https://barrelbaron.nl/ (Bottler)
*** I bought the bottle as a regular customer from Van der Heijden Wijn. ***