Tomatin 21, 1994-2015, 48% – Claxton’s

A second bottling from Claxton’s that I got my hands on. This time it’s a 21 year old Tomatin, which was also discounted to a pretty reasonable price.

My view of Tomatin is that it can be a great whisky, but a lot of the stuff out there is a quite middle-of-the-road. I’ve had some great ones, the boxed set with the accompanying sherry that was in the cask before comes to mind. Tomatin Meets Sherry, it was called and there was an Oloroso and a PX version.

However, since visiting the distillery I’ve not had too many expressions. Not entirely sure why, but not being rich enough to buy everything probably has something to do with it.

Anyway, this Claxton’s whisky is from a refill bourbon hogshead. I’m hoping it’s a bit less cask driven than yesterday’s Glentauchers. This spirit is fairly gentle too, so casks can get the upper hand relatively quickly.

Unsurprisingly, a lot of wood influence. It was in the cask for 21 years, after all. The spirit feels like it was a blank canvas for the cask. Lots of sweet notes of oak, some vanilla, and after a while some minerals and iron. So, some spirit after all because of the hint of iron.

Quite some vanilla and custard notes. It gets dry with some oak and barley. A touch of white pepper gives it a bit more heat than expected. Quite sweet, overall, with hints of vanilla custard.

The finish mellows quickly, with the most cask-forward flavors lingering.

It is very much a cask driven whisky, but for a timid spirit in fresh bourbon, it could’ve been much worse.

The fact that this is a refill cask instead of a first fill doesn’t change much in regards to there being less cask influence than there was with the Glentauchers. I think this one has even less spirit character, apart from the apple-y, mineral note on the nose.

A bit of a bummer. And one that worries me a little bit. I’ve had four whiskies by Claxton’s over the last couple of months (one I have yet to write about, but the other one is reviewed here) and so far I am not convinced. They seem to be going for not very outspoken whiskies, lacking most distillery character. I’ll not be buying much more by them, at least not without sampling first.


Tomatin 21, 1994-2015, Refill Hogshead 1503-11247, 48%, Claxton’s. Available at The Old Pipe for € 75


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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