Clynelish 17, 1997-2014, Hogshead, 46% – Wemyss

This whisky is called ‘Sweet and Sour Chutney’. I like Clynelish, and I like Indian food. Sounds good to me!

What also helps is that this line of whiskies from Wemyss is generally pretty good, and 1997 was an exceptional vintage for Clynelish too. All good things.

This was a single cask release done 9 years ago for ‘Whisky Lovers in France’, which is a club or something I’ve never heard about. Even Google doesn’t tell me much, so I guess this is something from the past.

The bottle was bought in auction, during lockdown. In the end I didn’t end up using it in a tasting, if I remember correctly, but I did sell quite a few samples (up to a level that I had only a 6cl sample left for myself).

Image from Whiskybase

What I always find interesting about bottles like this is that there were 345 drawn from the cask, but it’s only been rated on Whiskybase 5 times, with six people having it in their collection. Although, even that comes with a caveat, since 3 of the 5 raters rated it from my samples, and two of the people who have it in their collection are me and a friend who manages his samples through there too.

Quite a strong nose for a whisky at 46%. There is definitely something spicy and sour going on. Some pickled mango, too. Really chutney like! Although, generally chutney doesn’t have oak and barley and the Clynelish waxiness, that this whisky does have…

The palate is surprisingly dry compared to what I expected. Lots of chaff and straw, with some freshly cracked black pepper too. The acidity, or sourness, is still present in a very fruity way. Again, not unlike pickled mango. With a bit of time the black pepper becomes more prominent.

There aren’t many surprises on the finish. The pepper is far less pronounced and the slight acidity lingers a bit.

It’s not a high scoring whisky on Whiskybase, clocking in just under 86 points. It’s fine, but not high scoring. I think it deserves a little bit more, although I also realize that the strange acidic palate is not for everyone. I did like it, and it did give me a rather unique tasting experience which I quite enjoy too.



About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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