As a thank you to our good friends Adrian Hoose and Tom Roskams at Claxton’s I have decided to write this article in English. The third part of my recent Scotland trip took Bram and me to the Dalswinton Estate near Dumfries in the Lowlands of Scotland. It would end up to be the absolute highlight of our journey.
Ever since the first Claxton’s bottlings hit the shelves in Dutch stores I have been writing about the bottles and the bottler. We have met Adrian Hoose a few times at festivals we attended and think I might say I consider myself a friend of Claxton Spirits. When Claxton’s decided to move to the Dalswinton Estate in 2019 I decided I would have to visit them on my next Scotland trip. Covid caused a bit of a delay but that resulted in me being able to visit Dalswinton with my son so I’m not complaining at all. Our hotel was only a twenty minute drive away from the estate and Adrian offered to pick us up there. After all, it’s better not to drive after tasting some nice whisky’s. A wise decision!
We arrive at the Dalswinton Bond in the impressive “bottle archive” room and Adrian asks us if it’s too early for a nice dram as he pours a 20yo Bruichladdich to start the day with. What a start that is! A few minutes later coffee arrives as well. We drink our coffee, sip a dram or two and talk whiskytalk for about an hour and then it’s time to have a look around in the warehouses.
First we check out Warehouse 8. This small warehouse is used for maturing / finishing whisky in Octaves and Quartercasks. The 8 stands for the number of Octaves that can be filled from a sherrybutt. This type of caskmanagement forms an important part of the Claxton’s policy and success.
Next to Warehouse 8 is Warehouse 1, the warehouse for maturing the best sherrybutts. Some very nice casks for future bottlings catch my eyes. Adrian opens a Springbank 1999 cask and fills our Glencairns with the liquid jewelry. Bram even gets to do something I’ve never done in my earlier whiskytrips. He can open a cask himself, a 1970 North of Scotland that might even be better than the Springbank and the Bruichladdich we tasted earlier. With this great dram it’s time to take a lunchbreak in the archive room.
After lunch Adrian picks us up for the next part of our visit. He takes us to the other warehouses on the premises, Warehouse 2 and 3. He tells us Warehouse 3 is called the Grain Barn because that is what it acually was in the past, a grain storage facility for distillery’s. The Grain Barn 30yo blended grain whisky now is a new Claxton’s Core Range bottling. (will be reviewed in a few weeks)
We end the day in the bottling hall. Staff is busy bottling a Blair Athol that was matured in an STR red wine barrique for eight years. The cask was selected to be bottled in the Exploration series. After watching the process Bram and I both get to give it a try and after succeeding we both get to keep a bottle. How great is that?
After all this hard work it’s time to call a taxi and while waiting for it’s arrival I receive some very nice homework from Adrian and Tom. In my opinion this generosity stands for the passion you feel all around the estate. The passion to bring the best quality to the people.
Adrian and Tom, thank you for this fantastic experience and see you in the Netherlands soon!