Willet Distillery Tasting Notes

Posted: September 17, 2018 in American Whiskies, Rye

Willet 3 year old Family Reserve Rye 53.7%

First distilled in column still, second distillation in a copper pot still, from the Willet distillery, which re-opened in 2012.

Tasted: Apr 2018

Youthful aromas of rose petal marc and coffee. Hints of burnt toast, caramel and baked apple. The column still distillation gives it an unusual lightness and makes if feel more like a European than an American rye. Late notes of pepper, bitter spice and subtle treacle.

The palate opens with baked apple, peppery spice and rose petal marc notes. The middle displays some gritty oak tannins, but with grittiness comes hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. A light coffee note appears as well. A bit short and hot with a mouth-watering, but spicy finish. Again it definitely has a young European rye-like feel.

Claxton’s ‘The Single Cask’ Auchentoshan 1991 (26 year old) 54.1%

Sherry Hogshead/ Dist: Oct 1991 Btl: 2018/ Tasted: Apr 2018

The nose is Sherry dominated – walnut, prune, raisin, sultana, rhubarb and leafy Oloroso. With time a touch of marzipan appears.

The palate is rich, pruney and winey with raisin, coffee and a touch of green nuts. I’m afraid that it’s all Oloroso and alcohol! Intense Armagnac-esque dried fruit and herbal finish with a slightly furry, bitter chocolate tannin after-taste that feels like you have been licking the inside of the cask!

Claxton’s ‘The Single Cask’ Orkney 2007 (10 year old) 63%

Bourbon Hogshead/ Dist: Mar 2007 Btl: 2018/ Tasted: Apr 2018

A thunderously oaky nose with coffee and toffee. Hints of sweet apricot, barley and a rough edgy spirit note follows (that gives away the distillery!). With time some earth, malt and smoke appears but the edginess jars!

The palate is tight and alcoholic with again a rough spirit character. Gritty barley, coffee and malt comes through on the middle and the finish is masked but shows some raw, but sweet Turkish delight marc notes. Right now it doesn’t feel integrated.

A drop of water unfortunately emphasises the roughness of the spirit and bring out the rose petal marc character. The palate is much the same, rough spirit and coffee’d oak, which bitters quite a bit on the finish. Lovely!

Claxton’s ‘The Single Cask’ Glen Keith 1995 (22 year old) 49.2%

Refill Bourbon Hogshead/ Dist: Nov 1995 Btl: 2018/ Tasted: Apr 2018

Mature, straw-like barley aromas with hints of apricot conserve, lime, Satsuma and a subtle raisinated back note. Good balance with a touch of gooseberry adding a fresher element.

The palate opens with the milky/ creamy oak, along with vanilla coated apricot and pineapple. Hints of straw and barley follow along with a touch of mature baked fruit. Good length with refreshing lime, gooseberry, white peach, pear and barley finish.

Claxton’s ‘The Single Cask’ Glen Keith 1994 (23 year old) 51%

Bourbon Barrel/ Dist: Dec 1994 Btl: 2018/ Tasted: Apr 2018

The nose is harder than the 22 year old and granitier with crisp white fruit and citrus. The oak becomes very creamy and buttery, which dominates with time, but the granite note offsets. Pleasantly succulent with lime and fragrant pollen-like barley.

The palate opens with some intensely gritty oak, which is softened slightly by hints of honey and juicy white fruit. The oak continues to be the focal point and adds coffee’d tannins on the middle. There’s a real battle between the oak and the spirit going on, which is quite entertaining. Good length with honey, citrus, barley, almond, toffee and vanilla in the finish.

Claxton’s ‘The Single Cask’ Glen Moray 2007 (10 year old) 54.5%

First Fill Bourbon Barrel/ Dist: Nov 2007 Btl: 2018/ Tasted: Apr 2018

An aromatic and succulent nose with juicy apricot, peach and tangerine. Very evolved for such a young whisky with huge amount of apple blossom honey and barley. Late hints of lime, grist and vanilla. A lovely nose.

The palate is heavily barley’d but still as juicy and succulent as the nose suggests. Gently spiced middle with a touch of grippy, coffee’d oak and barley husks. A piercing, lime accented finish with offsetting honey, white peach, pear, tangerine and a touch of banana.

Claxton’s ‘The Single Cask’ English Whisky Rum Cask 2011 (6 year old) 60.5%

Dist: Apr 2011 Btl: 2018/ Tasted: Apr 2018

A subtly estery nose with fleshy banana, apple and pear. Hints of dark honey and the rum cask sweetness sit in the background. late straw, milky coffee and gristy barley.

The palate is grippy and gristy with barley and loads of sweet, rummy dried fruit – apricot, pineapple, pear and apple. Quite spicy and unsurprisingly alcoholic on the middle, although the sweetness balances. Long with  grassy and slightly marc-like finish. Light coffee’d after-taste.

Water brings out hints of brown sugar, lime, mandarin, toasted oak but also emphasises the youthfulness of the spirit. The palate is more herbal, but still grippy with more noticeable oak. It also emphasises the marc-like notes as well. Still it’s pretty well balanced, but I prefer it neat.

A.D Rattray Ardmore 1996 (21 year old) 59%

Bourbon Hogshead 149022/ Dist: Aug 1996 Btl: Mar 2018/ Tasted: Apr 2018

A dense and nutty nose with coal/ peat smoke. Some subtle, herbal spirit notes mingle with edgy citrus, crisp barley, lime and greengage. It certainly feels younger than 21, but a touch of baked fruit hints at some age. The barley sweetens with time and a touch of creamy vanilla appears. The alcohol, although on the high side, especially for a 21 is pretty well integrated.

The palate is oily, dusty and herbal with coal and peat smoke notes. Hints of honey, sweet barley and sweet vanilla follow. Intense, mineral and nutty middle with plenty of contained alcohol. The finish is a bit masked but it’s pretty peppery with lingering tar, peat dust and subtle mentholated notes.

A drop of water emphasises the green citrus and vegetation notes, as well as the barley. The peat has disappeared to leave the sweet-ish honeyed notes on display. The palate is very the same as the nose. More sweet barley and oak and less peat, although it does come through on the finish with a touch of pepper and dried fruit.

A.D Rattray North British 1991 (25 year old) 53.2%

Re-Charred Sherry Butt 262058/ Dist: Sept 1991 Btl: Jun 2017/ Tasted: Apr 2018

Aromas of mature, rum-like baked fruit and plenty of winey spices. The sherry is very subtle and adds just a soupcon of sweet-ish raisinated fruit, cinnamon, redcurrant and nutmeg. A balancing crisp, grain note comes through with time.

The palate opens with more of the sherried dried fruit, walnut, liquorice, nutmeg and cinnamon, although some subtle grainy dried fruit does come through. Hints of cream coconut and vanilla on the middle, which has turned into a riot of peppery spice! Good length with lingering grainy dried fruit.

A drop of water emphasises the grain but also brings out a touch of chocolate, sweet prune and warm vanilla. The grainy fruit is emphasised on the palate as well and now there’s a touch of menthol and mint. Mouth-filling and juicy, but still pretty peppery on the finish!

Plantation OFTD (Old Fashioned Traditional Rum) Overproof 69%

A blend of Guyana, Jamaica and Barbados rums

Tasted: Mar 2018

Pungent aromas of dark dried fruit along with a touch of lighter column still dried fruit. Lightly herbal and treacly with burnt coffee. For a supposed Navy rum, the nose is pretty well balanced.

The palate opens with the herbal treacle, dark raisinated fruit and lighter column still dried fruit. Seriously alcoholic, which masks the middle and finish, but there’s a touch of toffee coated banana and a dark chocolate and bitter spice finish.


With water the nose becomes quite bitter and displays less of dark fruit and more burnt toast, almonds, bitter cinnamon and pepper. The palate is much the same, overly bitter with not enough balancing sweetness. Could some of that bitterness be down to caramel? Either way it’s simplistic and a bit gimmicky.

Citadelle Tasting Notes

Posted: September 17, 2018 in French Gin, Gin

Citadelle Oak Aged Old Tom 46%

Aged in a combination of Acacia, Mulberry, Cherrywood, Chestnut, ex-Pineau de Charentes French oak and ex-Cognac casks. Married together in the custom build egg!

Botanicals: Juniper, coriander, angelica, cumin, nutmeg, almonds, grains of paradise, liquorice, cubeb, savory, cinnamon, star anise, blackcurrant, iris, violet, fennel, orange and lemon zest.

Tasted: Mar 2018

Given all  those different casks, the oak is pretty well balanced on the nose. Juniper heavy with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. Subtly sweet with a touch of vanilla, almond and dusty but smooth tannins. Late Cognac, berry, fennel and citrus notes.

The palate is quite sweet, sweeter than the nose suggests but the lemon balances. Again quite juniper heavy with the oak adding subtle tannins and vanilla. Hints of orange, cinnamon, cumin and fennel come through. The oak really comes through on the finish but the alcohol stops it getting bent out of shape. Lovely complexity!