Whisky Review #127: Clynelish 1997 18 Years Old (Kingsbury Celtic Bottling)

Clynelish is a distillery which has well and truly found its way into my list of favourites, primarily due to the wealth of exceptional expressions which are available from the various independent bottlers.

Over the last 3 years, I have had the privilege of sampling a number of expressions from the well-regarded Highland distillery and while there have been 1 or 2 lacklustre expressions, the vast majority of them have proven to be well worth the hype.

It is a well-known fact that the expressions which were born from the 1997 distillations are some of the best which have been released over the last few years and it is always a treat when one comes across an expression from that vintage.

This week’s review focuses on an expression of Clynelish which was distilled in 1997, matured for 18 years in an ex-bourbon hogshead (Cask #7107) and bottled in 2016 at a cask strength abv of 52% by independent bottler, Kingsbury, for their Celtic series.

So, let’s jump right into the review!

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Clynelish 1997 18 Years Old (Kingsbury Celtic Bottling)

Clynelish 1997 18 Years Old (Bottled by Kingsbury, Celtic Series, 52% abv)

Colour: Bright gold

Nose: Initial entry presents a pronounced fruity note which is redolent with lemon, orange and lime, followed by the typical waxy and mineralic hints that one would associate with a Clynelish. The waxy hints are complemented by a rich honeyed note and some limestone. With time, beeswax, oak, sea salt, cinnamon and pear juice emerge and intermingle with the other notes beautifully. (22/25)

Palate: Initial entry presents more of the citrus fruits detected on the nose, followed by beeswax, oak, sea salt, limestone and cinnamon. With time, manuka honey, pear juice, quince jam, kiwis and funnily enough, marzipan, emerge to complement the existing notes. The palate is rather full-bodied and the whisky possesses a good amount of viscosity. (23/25)

Finish: Long and lingering on the finish, with the beeswax, citrus fruits, oak, sea salt and cinnamon being the most prominent notes from the start to the very end. (22/25)

Balance: An exceptionally well-balanced expression which exhibits pretty much everything which we know and love about the 1997 distillates from this heralded distillery. The mouthfeel is oily for the most part with just a tinge of dryness at the very end. (23/25)

Rating: 90/100

In terms of a quality Clynelish which was distilled in 1997, it doesn’t get much better than this in my opinion. An exceptional expression which possesses all the elements necessary to make this a standout dram. If anything, this would make for the perfect digestive after a hearty meal with friends.

This expression was savoured at the newest whisky bar in Singapore, The Swan Song, which is definitely a place that must be visited at least once (although it would be safe to say that you would definitely end up going there more than once)!

Until the next review, have a wonderful week ahead.

Slainte!

Brendan

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