A quick addition to the Christmas whisky post: I did also buy a bottle for myself, just as a reward to me, for being me, since it was one you don't see in supermarkets very often and Waitrose had it at a reduced price of £26. It's a 14-year-old Clynelish (this is their standard bottling, a bit like the Oban, unusually as most distilleries offer a 10- or 12-year-old as the entry-level one), and since aside from a sneaky nip while cooking I didn't have a dram last night this seems like a good opportunity to make amends.
The Clynelish distillery has had a chequered history, including being physically relocated in 1967 (only by a couple of miles, though). Confusingly, the original distillery was then re-opened between 1975 and 1982 as Brora, bottlings of which are now much-sought-after and therefore fetch rather silly prices. Geographically it's firmly in the Highland region, indeed according to this map only Old Pulteney of the mainland distilleries is further north.
So, as it proudly says on the bottle, it's a coastal Highlander. As far as my whisky tastes go this bodes well, as the Oban, Ben Nevis, Dalmore and Old Pulteney all fall into this category and are all thoroughly great. Pour a glass and get your face into it and it's very much as you would expect, some smoke, but not the Laphroaig sort, a bit gentler than that. Have a taste and it's all fruit and fudge and honey with the smoke sneaking up to give you a sneaky Chinese burn and a wedgie at the end. If you want to try and locate it on the flavour chart it's slightly lighter than the Ben Nevis (which is very sherry-heavy), and less smoky than the Highland Park, but thicker and smokier than the Old Pulteney.
So I find my prejudices confirmed, i.e. that the Highlanders, and the coastal Highlanders in particular, are absolutely my favourite thing whisky-wise. As far as this particular one is concerned I think this might be second only to the Highland Park on my Chart Of Whisky Preference, which I will formalise here at some stage (but not right now).