Tonight’s post is something a little bit different. It is a whisky review but it is also much more than that. This is a piece on the completion of a year long challenge by one man from York who did an extraordinary thing for a children’s charity.
AP Claxton Ltd is an independent bottler from York who I only recently came across from the buzz on the blogs I follow on Twitter. They specialise in single cask bottles which are hand selected by this family run business and bottled completely naturally. This bottle is one of three I have from them and each is a beautifully different colour.
For a list of the stockists of Claxton’s single cask releases check out http://claxtonsspirits.com/claxtons-stockists/
The team at Claxton’s contacted Ben behind the Dram a Day YouTube channel and offered to do a charity bottling to help raise money for the challenge. This bottle is the result of that conversation and what a bottle it is.
The 54 bottles which are for sale are only available from Gauntley’s of Nottingham whisky shop which also have a website at whisky.gauntleys.com. The profits of the bottle will be shared between two charities which are important to both Gauntley’s and Ben.
A Dram A Day
The YouTube channel A Dram A Day was started by Ben Bowers from York to raise money for the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund. The charity was picked because his daughter’s best friend had been in need of the services provided by this fantastic charity.
The challenge, started last year, was to post one video every day for a year of a different whisky brand. Each video would include the history of the distillery and a review of their core product from a single 25ml sample. The whiskies used in the challenge would come from his own supply, producers or supportive whisky enthusiasts of which there are lots as we know.
Ben has a background in whisky retail management and previously worked for a major drinks company. He was out of the industry for a while and wanted to get back into it again so this idea just blossomed from there. Through the course of the year you can see in the video’s the progression in Ben’s presenting style, confidence and video editing capabilities.
Ben is clearly a great guy who has a big heart and a very supportive family. To put himself out there on the internet and video himself every day is an extraordinary thing to do. I could never see myself doing that so I will stick to hiding behind my keyword. Apart from anything else any viewers who mistakenly stumbled onto my video’s would be confronted with the most unintelligible thick Glaswegian accent you have ever heard!
Below is a video of him explaining his challenge much better than I just have. He is talking about the challenge which has just been completed but he is now spending 2017 getting to 500 reviews so still needs you help with samples if you have anything he does not have please get in touch with him.
Children’s Heart Surgery Fund
Established in 1988, Children’s Heart Surgery Fund is a charity providing support for children and adults born with Congenital Heart Defects and their families.
CHSF provides valuable equipment, resources and research, as well as providing a support service for both the children and their families along the way.
Children’s Heart Surgery Fund was created in 1988 by Duncan Walker, then a heart surgeon at the old Killingbeck Hospital in Leeds. Thanks to his fundraising efforts, in 1990 Duncan was given the accolade of Yorkshireman of the Year. Since 1988, the CHSF has awarded around £3 million in grants to the heart unit, its patients and their families.
There are many vital grants – both large and small – within CHSF’s work, and one of the most important was the award of almost £250,000 between 1999 and 2002 donated to Leeds University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. The initial grant was grown into much greater funding and helped established a project that led to creation of a York-based company called Tissue Regenix. This organisation are now leaders in the development of medical devices, including replacement heart valves.
Over recent years, CHSF have invested significant funding into family accommodation at the Leeds General Infirmary. This has included £410,000 being awarded to the Sick Children’s Trust to first build and now maintain parental accommodation at Eckersley House.
The Jessica Hope Foundation
Jessica Hope Gauntley was born and raised in Long Eaton, Nottingham. Jess loved to hang out with friends, sing and listen to music, and go to concerts; she loved many sports including netball, skiing and surfing. Jess was a normal bright girl with all the usual teenage preoccupations of homework, friendships, boys and everything to do with her appearance, but she also had great hopes and dreams for her future: completing her education, following a career, falling in love, marrying and having children of her own.
But tragically, all those dreams came to an end in April 2012 when, after suddenly falling ill, a large tumour was discovered deep in her brain. An emergency operation managed to remove some of the tumour but its progress could not be halted, and after a spirited fight over the next ten months Jess lost her battle with brain cancer in February 2013, aged just sixteen years old.
Following her death, her Mum and Dad launched the Jessica Hope Foundation in celebration of Jessica’s life, with the aim of raising awareness of brain cancer in children, and most importantly, to raise much needed funds to help research and fight this dreadful disease. The funds raised go towards supporting HeadSmart (the Brain Tumour Charity’s awareness campaign), the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre based at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, the Rainbows Hospice and the Teenage Cancer Trust Unit
How to Donate
So you have come across this blog post and you are wanting to help the charities I have described above. The only problem is the charity bottle is long since sold out and all 500 reviews have been made. I am here to help and below are quick access links to give generously.
To celebrate the completion of such an extraordinary challenge it was only fitting that Claxton’s came up with an equally extraordinary cask. This 8 year old Ardmore has spent if not all its life in a Laphroaig cask then an awful lot of its life in a Laphroaig cask.
This naturally coloured youngster was bottled at 55.1% ABV and has not been chill filtered. It is only available for £49.95 from here. With only 54 bottles in existence this is one to buy now or forever wonder what it would have been like to try!
Colour – pale straw
Nose – zesty apples and vanilla straight away, earthy peat but very sweet and minty
Palate – briny and coastal peat again which is really Laphroaig-y, honey and more vanilla
Finish – ashes on a bonfire with boiled lemon sweets
I have not tried any official Ardmore releases or indeed before this bottle any Ardmore at all. I cannot therefore say how different this single cask is to the house style but I can say it is a beautifully rich and exciting young whisky. The kind of whisky you want to buy because it is quality. The fact that the profits raised from it go to two very worthy charities is a bonus on top of the genuinely interesting cask. If you buy a bottle though please open it and drink it with friends and family.
Because is there really anything more important than family.