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Scotch Whisky Legends: Clynelish 1973 Prestonfield House

The Clynelish 1973 Prestonfield House. Credit: Whisky Auctioneer

Welcome back to another installment of Scotch Whisky Legends. This week, we take a look at the iconic Clynelish 1973 Prestonfield House 33 Year Old #8912.

The Clynelish 1973 Prestonfield House 33 Year Old #8912

Clynelish distillery has achieved cult status in the industry, thanks in part to its relationship with its sister distillery, Brora. You can read more about the intriguing shared history of Brora and Clynelish here.

The Highland distillery has long been lauded for its single malts. Following its release in 2002, the Clynelish 14 Year Old Flora & Fauna is credited with inspiring Diageo to revamp the distillery due to its positive reception. As a result, several old, rare, and delicious Clynelish whiskies were released to the market. This includes today’s Scotch Whisky Legend.

Prestonfield House. Image courtesy of Prestonfield House and The PC Agency.

Prestonfield House is one of the most luxurious hotels in Edinburgh. In the 1980s, the hotel decided to commission several single malt, cask strength bottlings for their clients. This was in a time before cask strength whisky was common, and blends ruled the market. As such, Prestonfield House’s foresight regarding the potential of single cask whiskies produced some very special bottlings. The venture also expedited the establishment of Signatory Vintage.

The Clynelish 1973 Prestonfield House 33 Year Old was matured in oak cask #8912 before being bottled at 54.3% ABV in 2006. Only 405 bottles were ever produced. It was also the first 1973 vintage to be bottled by Prestonfield House. On the label is a rendition of the famous hotel with one of their peacocks in the foreground.

Serge Valentin’s Tasting Notes On The Clynelish 1973 Prestonfield House 33 Year Old #8912

WhiskyFun’s Serge Valentin sampled this iconic bottle on October 9th, 2006, very soon after its release. And, let’s just say, he was very impressed:

An expression many have been raving about since WhiskyLive Paris. 

Colour: white wine. 

Nose: much more expressive, much fruitier but also much peatier (although a little less peaty than when I first nosed it and immediately though it was Brora). Starts developing on huge notes of beeswax, honey and pollen, it’s really like when you open a beehive (with appropriate protection of course). Then we have earl grey tea, pine resin, cough syrup, hints of fresh mastic… And then the much anticipated fruits, fresh oranges, guavas and papayas, quince, ripe bananas – then it makes kind of a U-turn towards old books, leather, tobacco and resins, with a beautiful peaty signature plus a little ginger, ginger ale and white pepper. Just beautiful, with a more than perfect balance and lots to say. 

Mouth: oh yes, here’s the peat I got last time, together with this beautiful, waxy and honeyed fruitiness peculiar to Clynelish. Lots of citrons, lemons, quinces and peat, with a superb smokiness plus quite some paraffin, mastic flavoured sweets, small bitter oranges, gentian spirit, quince jelly, a little nutmeg and black pepper… The peat first lingers in the background but really comes to the front after a while, with an obvious ‘Broraness’. 

Damn, this is so f******* good (please excuse my coarseness but it’s hard not to lose your self-control when in front of such a great whisky). Okay, the rest will be censored then… 95 points.” – Serge Valentin,, 2006 

The Price of The Clynelish 1973 Prestonfield House 33 Year Old #8912 at Auction

Considering the scarcity, impressive age statement, vintage, and rave reviews that surround this bottle, it is somewhat shocking that you can pick up a bottle at auction for between £3,100-£3,800.

However, it is not often that this iconic whisky appears at auction, having sold just once in 2023.

Buy Prestonfield House Whisky

The team at Prestonfirld House were whisky pioneers of their time. Not only did they anticipate the potential of single cask whisky, they also played an integral role in establishing Signatory Vintage. Andrew Symington, the founder of Signatory Vintage, worked as the assistant manager at Prestonfield House during the 1980s. It was there that he discovered his love for single malt scotch whisky.

As such, Prestonfield House bottlings are, arguably, pieces of scotch whisky history. They are rare gems that do not appear on the market commonly. When they do, they cause quite a stir.

For example, this Glendronach 1970 18 Year Old Prestonfield House, bottled in 1988, was one of the earlier Prestonfield bottlings. It was also bottled in the same year that Andrew Symington established Signatory Vintage. This Glendronach whisky is available on our shop now.

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Beth Squires

Beth joined Mark Littler Ltd full-time in October 2020 following the completion of her university degree. Since then she has gained wide-ranging knowledge of all things whisk(e)y, and has written extensively for both company and external publications. Beth is passionate about industry innovation, marketing, and sustainability. With a particular affinity for independently bottled rare scotch, Beth is also a whisky bottle investment specialist.

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