Clynelish 1997 Alambic Classique 55.8%

Octave Oloroso Sherry Cask Matured ‎ ‎

20 years in an Oloroso cask will have some drastic changes to a whisky I know quite well. Barreled in an Octave cask (1/8 size of a normal sherry butt) has me slightly concerned while also intrigued.

Tasting Notes

Sample was split into two Glencairn glasses. Rested capped for ~15 minutes with no dilution with 5 drops of water added to the second glass. Auburn in color with thick legs.

This is unlike any other Clynelish I’ve ever nosed. The cask is heavily influencing the aromas and you only get a slight hint at the standard distillery character. It’s welcome in an odd sense. Sweet fruits – grapes, fig, and plum. Toasted marshmallows along with the signature cereal grains really giving me graham cracker vibes. Stewed fruits. Berry cobbler, compote. Shortbread, and faintly salted butter. Clove, nutmeg, cinnamon. Orange zest. Old barn oak rafters in a hay loft. Touch of tobacco. With dilution more of those citrus notes come out along with pine nuts and some savory rosemary.

Very sweet dram initially. Bold fruits and spices. Pear and cinnamon compote. Soft on the palate and rather mellow. Dark dried fruits coming out of that older oak staves. Currents, dates, prunes. A lot of similar baking spices but more cardamom, allspice berries and cinnamon taking over. ~10 drops of water started to bring out some of that clover honey grassy, herbal quality. Lemon oils and slightly oversteeped tea bitterness. Creamed butter and demerara sugar topped bran muffins. Relatively flat and undistinguished.

Incredible finish! Lots of tobacco and savory, funky sherry notes. Warming spices and a citrus brightness to it. Makes up for the rather lackluster palate. Black tea, hot toddy flavors. The sherry flavors linger around for a long while but the other flavors seem to fade quickly. That bitter note I’m used to comes out well after all is said and done. Water really helps here too on the finish. It elevates the citrus in that hot toddy and also brings some herbal, grassy notes that I enjoy.


My initial reaction to this dram is that it’s just kind of unremarkable. It’s not what I expect from Clynelish. The fruit is really welcome but that signature character is all but missing from the glass. The bread, yeast notes and grains are masked in completely new flavors. It’s hard to compare this with other bottles from Clynelish.

That being said, on its own, it’s still a fun whisky. Despite lacking the distillery profile, it makes up by bringing a different experience. The fruit flavors are delicious and remind me of dutch oven cobblers while camping in scouts.

I’m happy and content with the sample but this is not a bottle I absolutely have to own. It however may put me on to other sherry cask Clynelish.