I was recently invited to sample five of the new whiskies which make up the winter 2018 outturn for Claxton’s independent bottlers in Yorkshire. I have had the pleasure of trying a number of their single casks over the years and have bought a spectrum of bottles in the past.
The first sample in the lineup was from a distillery which I had no experience of before and had only really heard of from overly expensive special releases from Diageo.
The Teaninich distillery dates back to 1817 when it was built my a Mr Hugh Munro on his own estate. The estate and distillery are in the town of Alness in the North East of Scotland near the Dalmore and Invergordan distilleries
The original distillery was mothballed in the 1980’s with the current distillery being built in the 1970’s. It is a huge volume producer for Diageo and produces almost entirely for the blend portfolio. As a result it is not a well known distillery and has no visitor centre or brand ambassador to push sales.
Produced in an ex-bourbon hogshead there are 255 bottles of this 19 year old whisky at just under £110 a bottle. The natural bottling strength was 53% which is not too bad considering the age but not the strongest in the lineup by quite a long margin.
There is still stock available of this at the Claxton’s online shop, Master of Malt and House of Malt at time of writing.
Colour – straw
Nose – Lots of tart apples and booked baking cooling on a rack. Lots of chopped add the kitchen theme. These kitchen aromas though make way for a chemical acetone which detracts from the nostalgia a little.
Palate – The texture is wonderful though really heavy and luxurious with chilli heat, cooled with caramel and appletiser. Lots more of the nuts just freshly chopped up before being put into baking.
Finish – The finish is long as you would expect with a punchy kick to it. There is more heat from chilli peppers and some more softer spices from the oak wood. Without water there is a strong bitter lemon taste which is mellowed by a couple of teaspoons of water. That weird chemical note is back though which is vaguely reminiscent of Jura to me.
I was part of a tweet tasting which included five samples from the Claxton’s winter out turn and of the five this was my least favourite. I think a lot of the issue is the purpose of the distillery does not lead to either a characterful spirit, an expensive wood policy or slow distillation being a priority for production. There are a lot of more interesting examples to come so stay tuned for that. However, compared to the £280 special release from 2017 you cannot deny the value for money in comparison.