Claxton’s spirits is an Independent bottler based in Scotland. The Claxton’s family has been passionate about independently bottled single cask whisky for decades and finally began rreleasing their casks in 2015. You might have seen a bottle here and there, and they are really easy to recognize with the special rectangular shape unlike most IB who use a standard shaped bottle.
I was lucky enough to join a twitter tasting last night, organized by Steve of the Whisky Wire, sampling 5 of their single cask whiskies from their latest batch of casks (4 single malts and 1 single grain). I must confess i’ve never tried any of their whiskies before, but I’ve seen it on some online whisky sites. So a great chance to get to know yet another new-ish IB.
We started with A Teaninich 19 year old, and made our way finishing with the smoky and very hip Ledaig 10 year old.
Nose: Quite a lot of wood influence, it’s clear this is an ex-Bourbon cask. Some Caramel covered popcorn, coconut, apples, and sweet pastries, deep and spiced as well, with a hint of ripe oranges.
Palate: The palate is also rich with some sweet vanilla and spices, almost exotic at times (as in exotic fruit), there’s also a nice sweet Creme Catalan , with soft spices and a nice cereal-y note as well. A lovely active cask indeed.
Finish: Pie crust, nuts and almonds, vanilla and a bitter wood / dark chocolate note.
Very good stuff this one, if you’re an ex-Bourbon fan, this one’s up your alley, with enough complexity and a lovely nose / Palate combination.
Still available on their online shop for £109.99
The next whisky we tried online was an older Springbank 22 years old distilled in 1996. Always a treat sampling whiskies from this iconic distillery that probably makers some of the better whiskies you can find nowadays using original methods and real whisky craftsmanship.
Nose: What a powerful springer this one is, the nose is earthy, dirty and lovely, some motor oil ,dusty dirty warehouses, damp, and lovely with some fruity notes developing with time. The good stuff no doubt!
Palate: A rather feisty palate, with more peat than normally one would expect from a 22 year old springer (and it’s lovely – no complaints here), more dusty warehouses, wood, earth, and on the 2nd wave of sensations the exotic fruit kick in : kiwi, Melon, pineapple, all covered by the dark and dirty veil of flavors. Boom!
Finish: Smoke, fruit, dark chocolate, ending on red grapefruit. .
This is an excellent whisky, even in terms of Springbank, it has to be one of the better whiskies I’ve tried recently, having been to springbank only last week, I can say this is as good as it gets. Springbank IB prices for 1990’s and before just exploded recently, and this one’s no exception… If you’re able to shell out some £344 quid for this one, do not think twice.
still available on the online shop for £344
The third whisky we sampled comes from the well known Progressive hebridean distiller of Bruichladdich. Bruichladdich is well known for big lactic notes, and this whisky was aged in a sherry Sherry Puncheon for 16 long years.
Nose: From first sniff it was clear to me this is a real Laddie. You can not miss out on the BIG lactic notes even with the sherry influence (which is quite strong) , sweet notes of cheese cake with strawberry jam topping, sweet cream, and icing, there’s also some sherry influence in the form of cherries and sultana. Big sweet and in your face.
Palate: More sweet cheesecake with orange rind, some toffee’d apples on a stick, sultanas and leather ,with spices and thick sweet juices.
Finish : Bitter caramel, sultanas and wood spices.
Lovely stuff, maybe not for everyone (unless you’re fond of the lactic qualities – i am!), the sherry influence is well integrated without being a Sherry Bomb, allowing the laddie spirit to shine thorough. Highly enjoyable.
Available for £109.99, on the online shop.
After three single malts, time for a change of pace with a Single Grain whisky from Dumbarton distillery. this one’s aged for 32 long years , having been distilled in 1986 , aged in a bourbon barrel and bottled at 57.1% abv. 32 years is usually enough time for the wood to work its magic, and produce a lovely grain whisky that I like…
Nose: This one’s heavy on pencil shavings, textbook grain, if you may say so, but i find it lacks the wood varnish I look for in those kind of whiskies. It’s got some banana bread notes as well, some nuts, and a touch of acetone as well which is something one expects from whiskies of the like.
Palate: The palate is rich, but again, I find the wood influence is not as strong as i had expected, yes it’s creamy and lovely , buttery with notes of coconut, dried banana and toffee.
Finish : Sweet with apple tart glazed with caramel, coconut shreds and vanilla.
A very nice single grain, but certainly not my favorite of the evening. It could use some more polished wood, then it would be perfect.
Nothing better than to finish a tasting with a peaty, ashy and tough whisky such as the Ledaig. Ledaig is peated Tobermory and in recent years it has become very popular among us malt nerds. It has really become an excellent whisky, with good casks used, and a big following, one can say Ledaig is the new Ardbeg. This one’s distilled in 2008 and comes from a Refill Hogshead, and yep, it’s sold out.
Nose: Big smoky notes of wood fires, quite coastal as well (I could’ve sworn it’s an Islay malt), with shellfish , tarry ropes salt, kerosene and ash, soot and burning embers. This is the real thing!
Palate: Smoky and ashy, yet very creamy with vanilla, and dried coconut, some sweet dough and more maritime influence, with the soot and ash enveloping all.
Finish: ash, seaweed, salt and tar with a long sooty edge, dark chocolate.
A very good Ledaig. Classic stuff, bourbon cask, the trademark ash and smoke. Get your peat and smoke fix with this one.
Brilliant tasting with a wide variety of whiskies from the creamy Teaninich, to the exceptional springer, a nice sherried cheese-cake-y lactic Laddie, then off to Single Grain mode, and a peaty smoky finish with the fierce Ledaig. Claxton’s have showcased a wide variety of cask types, and whisky styles, all were very good to excellent. Impressive stuff. Thank you guys, and thanks to Steve for organizing this.