With the new distillery boom of recent years, Yorkshire has been waiting for its new whiskymakers to reach the appropriate age and quality to be sold: The Spirit of Yorkshire distillery have been the first to make a single malt whisky within ‘God’s Own Country’, and our eyes are also firmly fixed on the self-built vision of CooperKing distillery, amongst a handful of other distilleries who seem to be focussing on the gin craze for now. There’s one Yorkshire company however who, instead of distilling their own stock, have gone straight to the source and have made quite the name for themselves in doing so. Claxton’s Spirits are based in Ripon, North Yorkshire, and since 2015 have been selling independently selected single cask bottlings of some of Scotland’s finest producers, and have presented each expression without chill-filtration, colouring or any dilution.
This expression is a 2018 release by the family-owned business, and features a sherry-matured Bruichladdich spirit originally distilled and put into a sherry puncheon on 23rd August 2002. What makes this particularly special to a Bruichladdich fan, is that this represents a year’s work of fine tuning from the team at the dstillery in crafting their spirit since the site’s re-opening in May 2001. This particular cask was deemed ready for consumption after 16 years and at its cask strength of 61.2% ABV. The cask was able to produce 372 bottles only and each bottle can be found via the Claxton’s shop here for £134.99 (while you can!)
An initial, thick and warming smell. It smells instantly decadent. There’s a good smell of pipe tobacco and leather – like an old time gentleman’s club with a roaring fire and leather wingbacks chairs – or at least that’s the mental image that the whisky conjures up. There’s also a dried orange peel kind of smell amongst the fusty, older, dryer scents, giving it some fruity depth too.
A real explosion of flavours fill the mouth as soon as this liquid hits the lips. A surprising amount of juicy fruit flavours all bursting out here. That faint orange smell from the nose is now a full mouthful of zesty orange juice, maybe even mango. There’s a richer raisin and sultana juiciness to it too. That leather note is still there, but makes for a burnt orange tasting note, when combined with those juices.
The finish brings even more sensations out as the juicy liquid slips away and leaves a decent amount of oak and clove spice. A perfect balance of sweetness and power and this is over 60%?? Fantastic stuff.
This is a whisky for savouring! The 16 years of maturation have made for a great combination between oak and spirit. The high percentage does not detract from the flavours at all, and just amplifies the influence of the original new make. In fact, despite the inevitable initial vapours, the whisky does not feel like its particularly high, which must be testament to the flavours and influence of the sherry cask. So many fruity flavours at that. Without wanting to cheapen it, there’s a Juicy Fruit chewing gum combo of rich fruit flavours going on. For me, it doesn’t seem to have the signature sea spray kind of note that reminds me of the smells at Loch Indaal, that say, the lighter Classic Laddie and Laddie Ten from early 2000s distillations displayed (which I absolutely love), but it presents a whole new delicious beast. A real treat for the senses, and a great example of an indie bottling that doesn’t necessarily display the core expressions’ ‘classic’ distillery features, but rather a (delicious) variation on a theme.
Sample disclosure: The sample seen, savoured and reviewed here was received as part of a Tweet Tasting event, organised by Steve Rush (@TheWhiskyWire) and supported by Claxtons (@Claxtons_Hugo) – all notes above are an honest and independent review of the whisky (albeit from a Laddie fanboy)