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1998 Clynelish 17 Year Manager's Dram Single Malt Scotch Whisky Review: Waxing Poetic About the Greatest Honeybuttered Highland Distillery We Have Tasted

Updated: Jul 7

Clynelish Distillery

Situated north of the East Sutherland village of Brora, in the northern Highlands region, is the site of not one but two distilleries: Clynelish (the distillery we are exploring today) and its adjoining predecessor, Brora. To those who have experienced and tasted whisky from either distillery, it should come as no surprise that both have attained cult status amongst whisky collectors and enthusiasts.

Since the history of Clynelish is vast and less fit for a flash review, we've included snippets from Beth Squire's thorough examination of this wonderful distillery. We highly recommend checking out her entire write-up to truly understand the poetic shine of Clynelish and Brora.

As of today, Clynelish Distillery, which began operating in 1967, is known for producing malts with a distinctive oily and waxy textured marine character displaying citric notes. These malts are mainly used for blending, notably as a core part of several Johnnie Walker expressions, although official special releases and independent single malt bottlings are highly sought after for good reason.

A big thank you to Gregory Cloyd, for organizing such an Illuminating tasting. It was a privilege to explore his beautiful garden (pictured above) and to taste such rare whisky. We are honored to share our tasting notes of the Manager's Dram lineup we explored amongst some of the best people in the world.


Company on Label: Clynelish Distillery

Whiskey Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Mash Bill Percentages: 100% malted barley

Proof: 123.6°

Age: 17 years (distilled in 1981 and bottled November 23rd, 1998)

Further identification: On the front label: A 17 Year Old sherry cask whisky specially selected by Malt Distillery Managers within United Distillers & Vintners and bottled at natural strength


Nick's Thoughts

Nose: Raspberry parfait, dusty oak, black pepper, heather, and tall grass all present perfectly on long inhales. It smells like I need to check for ticks… This is like poetry for your nose; I could wax poetic forever on this. Allspice and honey-buttered rolls dominate late in the glass. I smell my first ever unfiltered Lucky Strike cigarette I pulled out of a German vending machine. The empty glass is all burly barley.

Palate: The first sip is all heather, honey butter, and lavender. This is liquid perfection embodied through sweet honeysuckle and crème brûlée. My last sip tastes like sex and rock & roll.

Jes's Thoughts

Nose: Oh my honey butter goodness, this is Mariah Carey honey-worthy high-note perfection. The slightest hint of smoke laces between the layers of creamy, buttered sweetness while sweet fruit dances around my nose, surprising me with sea salt confetti.

Palate: Creamy honey for days and days atop a pan of freshly baked sweet rolls; my word, I'm at a loss for them. This is a lean back in your chair, close your eyes, and forget about the world around you kind of sip, which is exactly what I did. Once I had my necessary moment with my glass, I heard someone at the table proclaim, "It's like a poem for your nose," and with that, I put down my pen and smiled widely as I fully took in the excitement before me.


Rating: 5/5

This offering was not a first experience with Clynelish, but if Nick and Jes's notes above don't make it clear, the Amongst the Whiskey Team is crushing hard on this distillery. For those with two eyes and a tongue that are sufficiently curious now, modern Clynelish 14 years stands up fairly well to this experience.


Written by: The Amongst the Whiskey Team





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