Today we’re looking at two more releases from Yorkshire based independent bottler Claxton.
Claxton’s Glen Grant Cask C21017
This bottling was distilled on the 19th of March 1998 and matured for 23 years in a sherry butt before being bottled in 2021. 225 bottles were released.
We're finding a mixture of fruit and varnish off the initial nose. There's some peach, apple, quite light but with a powerful wood varnish note that's suppressing them somewhat. The alcohol feels quite powerful but nosing the dram from different angles allows the other aromas to come through. We're getting some vanilla, white pepper and buttery shortbread after giving it some time and air. There's a honeyed quality to it, with some oak spice and little appletiser in the background.
It's creamy, very very creamy. This has an incredible mouthfeel, one of the best we've had in a while. Notes of malt, biscuit and honey are all coming through initially, moving into more chocolate digestive flavours with some peach, nectarine and fresh green apple notes too. The finish is quite woody, a little drying too, it reminds us of an older cognac. We're not finding too much overt sherry influence, but we can detect a little dried fruit and baking spice. It's not particularly sweet either, more of a richer, acidic dram.
Nose (with water)
We're finding a fresher nose now, a little more acidic with orange and lemon. The strong varnish note has mellowed somewhat, but is still there in the background. We vastly prefer the nose with a touch of water.
Palate (with water)
The reduced palate has more stone fruit, orchard fruits and slightly sweeter biscuit flavours coming through. There's still a pepperiness here, and the oak is present, but it's much more in balance now. The mouthfeel is still good, maybe not as viscous as pre-dilution, but unfortunately the finish is still a little dry.
A good Glen Grant that uses sherry maturation as a compliment to the spirit rather than an overpowering flavour profile. Our biggest complaint here is the finish. It's a little dry, oaky and shorter than we'd like. We'd like a little more sweetness to counterbalance some of the sour/bitter flavours, but some may appreciate the drier nature of the whisky. Water really awakens the dram, bringing more balance. Not a cheap bottle but it's in line with other 20+ year old whiskies.
Claxton’s Arran cask C21022
Next up is an Arran distilled on the 3rd of February 1998 and matured for 23 years in a fresh sherry butt before being bottled in 2021. 234 bottles were released.
Strawberries and black pepper. We're getting a lot of melon, both honeydew and watermelon as you go back and forth nosing the dram. There's a touch of sulphur in the background, but it's not offensive as some sherried whiskies can be. It's got a sweetness here which is nice, but it's balanced with richer sherried flavours. Going back after some time, we're getting some hazelnut, ginger and a hint of cinnamon in the background.
Relatively rich and syrupy mouthfeel, more red fruits like strawberry, raspberry and even a little sweetened rhubarb in there too. It's very well balanced, not overpoweringly sherried but the cask has definitely impacted the spirit in a good way. The finish has a nice length, giving more of drier bready, woody flavour. Going back after some air, we're finding some milk chocolate coated raisins, ginger snaps and cinnamon sticks.
Nose (with water)
Richer sherry aromas are starting to appear, cherryade, cloves, an assortment of nuts, darker chocolate, and wet oak. We've lost some of the sweetness, but it's not a bad thing. We will say that it seems quite harmonious in aromas, but to an extent it’s a little one dimensional now.
Palate (with water)
A little tingly with pepper and alcohol, with more of that syrupy fruit salad on top. We're finding more oak flavour appearing here, a little bitter now and we've lost some of the freshness we had before. There's still sweetness here, but we don't think that water has improved the palate overall.
A well balanced and flavourful whisky from a distillery we find often overlooked but generally produces great quality. The cask has had a lot of influence here and it's worked well with the spirit. We'd avoid adding water, it doesn't provide any benefit in our opinion. It's close to an 8/10 but slightly too expensive so we'll go with 7.5/10.
- 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
- 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
- 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
- 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
- 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
- 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
- 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
- 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
- 2 - Pour it out
- 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.
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