When I attended the “Day Of The 100 Open Bottles” at Pinkernell’s Whisky Market in Berlin last month, I tried more than half a dozen drams by Claxton’s. Their well-selected single cask whiskies rendered me so impressed that I took home not one but two bottles: an Orkney 10yo for myself and a Craigallachie 8yo for a friend. As I was just about to leave, Pinkernell’s Branch Manager Andi asked me to wait another second. He quickly dashed into the storage room, grabbed a Claxton’s sample pack and added it to my purchases. Wow. That gesture was as nice as it was unexpected! However, it would have taken me quite some time to try and review all samples in that package on my own. So I split the contents with my pal Aaron, who already introduced three of the seven whiskies over at his blog Drams United. And today I am happy to follow up and share my tasting notes for another trio of very exquisite Claxton’s malts.
Auchentoshan 26yo 1991
(Single Malt Scotch Whisky • Sherry Hogshead • 54.1% • 217 bottles)
Distilled in the early 90s and kept in a sherry hogshead for more than a quarter of a century, this 26-year-old single cask bottling ain’t your everyday Auchentoshan. It opens with a magnificent bouquet of luxurious aromas. Raspberry pie that comes fresh out of the oven. Apple compote with cinnamon and cloves on top. Caramel pudding, juicy oranges and white grapes. In the mouth, the whisky feels dry and heavy at first. Its ripe age, masterful make and robust frame manifest in every sip you take. While you let the liquid dance across your tongue, it fills your entire mouth cavity with salted chocolate, currant marmalade, orange peel and lavender twigs. And when you finally gulp it down, those luscious notes of oaky tannins, burnt raisins and dark fruits just won’t go away. A grant finish to an outstanding Lowlands whisky!
Glen Keith 22yo 1995
(Single Malt Scotch Whisky • Refill Hogshead • 49.2% • 311 bottles)
While the afore-mentioned Auchentoshan had a somewhat winterly character, this slightly younger Glen Keith is the exact opposite. Twenty-two years in a refill hogshead have given the spirit a fresh, fizzy and fruity nature. To me, this invigorating Speysider is a total summer’s whisky. Its prancing fragrances include lemon cake, pineapple juice, kiwi squash, gooseberry compote and a bit of sparkling wine. On the palate, pina colada-styled coconut notes are joined by an exotic potpourri of limes, pears and lemon grass topped with a spoonful of whipped cream. The medium-long finish brings forth lychees, grapes, kiwis and a dash of bitter lemon. One sip puts you inside a chilled swimming pool on a hot day in July, while two sips lay you down in the soft sands of a paradisiac bathing beach. Dream away…!
The English Whisky Co. 6yo 2011
(Single Malt English Whisky • Rum cask • 60.5% • 254 bottles)
With St. George’s Distillery being located in England rather than Scotland, this young whisky takes a special position in Claxton’s portfolio. After all, it is the York-based company’s only bottling that is not a Scotch. When we draw it to our nostrils, this powerful youngster surprises us with a peculiar mix of sweet, herby and flowery aromas. Besides marzipan and mint pastilles, I also made out grassy notes and a gin-like quality. A touch or Pear Helene and a splash of perfume round the whole thing off. The palate takes us on a similar rollercoaster ride. Creamy milk chocolate and gobstoppers are followed by sweet chestnuts and pine cones. Some fruits are in there too, but they are more on the bitter side than on the sweet side: Grapefruits, kumquats, sloes. Once you have gulped this special whisky down, you will be rewarded with a long and strong finish characterized by candied ginger, raisin bread, bubblegum… and fire! Hell, this one does not just light a match on your tongue. It unleashes an inferno! If – like me – you got a soft spot for unconventional pours, you might wanna give this 6-year-old a try. But if you rather call yourself a traditionalist than an adventurist, you probably want to go for a dram with a more classic flavor profile.
Auchentoshan 26yo 1991 (Single Malt Scotch Whisky / Lowlands/ 54.1% / ~280 Euro)
Glen Keith 22yo 1995 (Single Malt Scotch Whisky / Speyside/ 29.2% / ~135 Euro)
The English Whisky Co. 6yo 2007 (Single Malt Whisky / England / 9yo / 60.2% / ~68 Euro)
Claxton’s @ Web: http://www.claxtonsspirits.com/ (Bottler)
Claxton’s @ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/claxtonsspirits/ (Bottler)
Pinkernell’s @ Web: http://www.pinkernells.de/ (German Importer)
Pinkernell’s @ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pinkernellsberlin/ (German Importer)
*** Whisky samples kindly provided by Pinkernell’s ***