1997 is supposed to be the magic year for Clynelish. My last 1997 Clynelish lacked magic. It’s not the fault of that whisky: the whole magic vintage thing is a lot of bullshit. I will not bore you by going over all that again—if you’re interested you can read my views here and here. Let’s just get directly to this 17 yo from a bourbon hogshead, bottled a couple of years ago by C&S, a bottler based in Germany.
Clynelish 17, 1997 (47%; C&S Dram Collection; bourbon hogshead #5730; from a purchased sample)
Nose: Citrus (lemon peel, orange), a faint grassiness, some brine and okay, I could be talked into a little wax. With more time there’s a biscuity/malty thing going on as well. Less grassy, more biscuity with water.
Palate: A little sweeter, a little maltier but otherwise it’s all the stuff from the nose. Has a decent bite despite the relatively low abv but the mouthfeel is a bit thin. With time there’s more of the orange and more of the grass. Water pulls out a metallic note and more grass and pushes the balance off.
Finish: Medium-long. The sweetness expands and it’s increasingly simple-syrup’ish. Some oak too. Water washes it out a bit.
Comments: No complexity here but they don’t all need to be complex. This is a good, solid bourbon cask whisky of its type: fruity, grassy, malty. If you have an unopened bottle I’d recommend holding the water when you do open it.
Rating: 86 points.