Claxtons – Springbank 1996 – 22 Year Old

Claxtons are a family-owned independent business, who are based in Yorkshire. They are not owned by or affiliated with any distillery and therefore can hand select casks based on flavour and quality. Every bottle that they create comes from a single cask and is bottled without chill filtering or colouring. They bottle most whiskies at a higher ABV, but not necessarily at cask strength.

In our opinion, finding an independent bottler that you get on with is a passport to getting to try some really interesting whiskies, as once you trust the producer you can take a risk on distilleries that you haven’t had before.

Price: £344.99 (Only 249 bottles were taken from the cask)

ABV: 55%

Appearance: Light golden brown sugar

Aroma: Having recently had the good fortune to tour Springbank distillery, I have to say that this dram was super evocative. It took me to a very, very happy place. There is a dusty, wooden quality on the nose, that pairs with a salinity and a fruityness that just yells Campbeltown and more specifically Springbank.

Taste: Initially light, sweet and floral like honey, this dram sits delighting the palate for a moment, then as it develops there is a fiery wooden, cinnamon and black pepper spiciness that develops across the tongue. As this heat elapses your mouth is a wash with light, sooty charcoal chimney smoke, which combines with a zesty lemon note and finally the creamy, sweet flavours return. Then like the tide, these notes wash back and forwards in a long, long finish.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, yet spicy and smoky.

Overall: I might be biased, because I both love Springbank whiskies and am a proud Yorkshire man too, but I am yet to be disappointed by any whisky that Claxtons have bottled. I am not a party to the way that they source casks, but they obviously have excellent connections and make wise choice about the liquid that the procure. This means that as a whisky drinker, I feel in safe hands when I try a Claxtons dram. This one carries much of what makes Springbank one of my favourite whiskies, it has fruit, salinity, light smoke and an odd funky, dustyness that for me tells a story of wood, ageing and careful years of production.

The only fault here is the price. I can’t see me ever being able to purchase this whisky for myself, so I would have to wait for a significant birthday, or a very big promotion before ever being able to try this whisky again. It is a single cask and a whisky that will never be created again, so if you have the money, then you are in for a treat, but if like me you are more fiscally concerned, wait for the Springbank 12 Cask Strength to be re-released or pick up a bottle of Springbank 10 instead.

Real Dram Factor: 8.4

Source: Whisky Wire Tweet Tasting

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