Two IB Williamson reviews today. We're finding a lot of these casks appearing recently and have had (mostly) good experiences, so we're excited to see if these follow suit.
Claxton's Warehouse No.1 Williamson 6yo cask C21018
This 6yo release from Claxtons was distilled in April 2015 and matured in a refill sherry hogshead for six years before being bottled in 2021. 349 bottles were released.
Initially we’re getting orange marmalade cinnamon, and heavy ashy smoke. It’s not obviously a sherry matured dram. Going back to it after some air reveals burnt crumpets smothered in warm salty butter, charcoal, tar, and a faint clove note. We’re not getting any new make or malty notes which is impressive for something this young.
To us this is quintessential Laphroaig, and we’re getting heaps of TCP, iodine and all the peaty goodness this distillery offers. Along with the peat we’re finding a nice citrus sweetness with oranges, tangerines and some white sugar. There’s lots of chilli heat on the finish that outlasts the peat and sweeter notes. Like the nose we’re not really getting any sherry notes on the palate. It has a good mouthfeel, but for us it a touch hot.
Nose (with water)
Water starts to open this up, there's now some smoked oyster, and tobacco ash on the nose in addition to the pre dilution notes. Giving it a little air reveals notes of Arbroath smokies, and green toffee apples. The nose definitely benefits from a little water.
Palate (with water)
While there’s still a fair amount of heat, it’s more palatable with water. We’d liken the diluted palate spice to chewing on a cinnamon stick vs. eating a green chilli pre dilution. The water has also accentuated the sweeter notes. Without water the the finish was medium length. It’s now longer with less spice.
For us this needs a drop of water to balance it out. With water it’s a tasty dram, but is just a little too expensive for us, and we can’t give it more than a 7.5/10.
Berry Bros & Rudd Williamson Cask #05057
This release of Williamson from BBR was distilled 2014, finished in an Oloroso butt, and bottled in 2021 at 7 years old. 449 bottles were made available.
There’s some melted butter, brine, cherries, a costal smoke, and white pepper. Going back it and we’re getting some pepper coated smoked mackerel fillets, and concentrated orange juice. It follows on with more smoke... It’s like we’re standing next to a smouldering fire that dying out. It’s not as medicinal as we expected, but it’s still got a big bold nose.
We’re getting some dried fruits sweetness, cherries and apricots. Along with it there’s some synthetic sweetness in the form of custard creams. All this is nicely balanced with a good amount of peat. There’s lots of sweetness on a good length finish along with some ginger and chilli. We’re reminded of dried ginger jelly sweets. Going back to it and we can detect a slight bitter black tea note.
Nose (with water)
With water the sherry shows a little now in the form of sultanas and prunes. There’s also more smoke here and it’s like we’re standing next to a bonfire at it’s peak. Going back to it and there’s some Marcelo cherries (black cherries) and cloves.
Palate (with water)
Water highlights the sweetness on the palate and we’re now getting grapefruit in addition to the notes above. It’s also tamed a little of the chilli heat on the finish. Not that it needs it as this really doesn’t taste its ABV. We’re still not getting heaps of sherry. Maybe a touch of toffee too.
For us we’d be happy to drink undiluted, but it’s a great dram that can take water without losing anything. If you can tell from above we really like this and would pay over the odds for another bottle.
- 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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