Clynelish 17, 1997 (Berry Bros. & Rudd)

Clynelish Week began with a 23 yo second-fill Oloroso butt bottled by Single Cask Nation and continued with a 21 yo refill sherry butt bottled by Signatory Vintage. Here now to close it out is a 17 yo bourbon cask bottled by Berry Bros. & Rudd. Despite my usual preferences I liked the second-fill butt more than the refill sherry butt. Where will this bourbon cask fall? Let’s see.

Clynelish 17, 1997 (55.2%; Berry Bros. & Rudd; cask 4050; from a bottle split)

Nose: Sweet fruit off the top (peach, nectarine) along with some oak and some honeycomb. As it sits there’s more lemon (candied) at first and then some malt. With time there’s quite a bit of toasted oak. The fruit expands and gets quite a bit muskier with several drops of water.

Palate: Comes in sweet here as well along with the oak. Nice texture. The oak adds more bite on the second sip and the fruit expands as well. The lemon pops up here as well with time and melds with the sweeter fruit and the oak; some malt too now. Water pushes the acid back but the fruit and oak meld further and expand. The fruit is not quite as rich here though as on the nose. As it sits the acid expands again.

Finish: Long. The oak expands here and then the fruit begins to turn musky. Water pushes the oak back a bit but otherwise the progression is as on the palate.

Comments: Those looking for the classic Clynelish wax may be disappointed but if what you’re looking for is a very good fruity whisky with well-integrated oak you will not be. Or you would not have been in 2014.

Rating: 87 points.


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