Meet the Maker - The Lakes Distillery
Based in Cockermouth on the northern edge of the beautiful Lake District National Park, The Lakes Distillery are gaining more attention than ever for their award-winning spirits range. Gins and Gin Liqueurs are high on the list, but their excellent English Whisky and Vodka range has always garnered fans the world over. We take a look at what makes this small batch, artisan distillery a pride of Cumbria.
Founded in 2011 by the Currie family, this relatively young distillery did not take long to make its mark. Their central ethos is to truly reflect their countryside surrounds and take risks to succeed, challenging convention with creativity to achieve the sublime. Now employing 70 local people, The Lakes Distillery has created many new careers in its rural area.
They used this first in concentrating on whisky, learning from centuries' of experience whilst moving in new ways - holistic whisky making. Paul Currie had worked in the Scotch industry for many years and wished to bring this back home with the founding of The Lakes Distillery.
Chief whisky maker is Dhavall Gandhi and is, unusually, actively involved at every stage of the process. Inspired by Cognac, he has taken the concept of élévage - an active involvement during maturation. Rather than sealing a cask and waiting and then blending the result, elements are transferred to different types or ages of casks depending on what flavour he wishes to acquire. In this way, Dhavall can create a pyramid of aromas with base, middle and top notes as inspired by perfumers. Different yeasts bring this, with one type used at the start of the week to give top notes in the new make, and a different yeast at the end of week to give the base before these two new makes are blended. Fermentation is pushed up to 96 hours, twice the industry average to create the desired complexity and depth of flavour. Slow distillation in their copper pot still results in a fruitier, more robust spirit to complement maturation in sherry casks.
The One Signature Blend whisky (46.6%, £39.00) is an excellent example of these methods. A blend of The Lakes Single Malt and select Scotch grain and malt whiskies from the Highlands, Speyside and Islay that are personally sourced Dhavall. Complex yet balanced with aromas of stone fruit, treacle and light spice before a deliciously compelling palate; notes of honey-roasted nuts, wood spice, dried fruits and gentle wood smoke. Non-chill filtered for a richer mouthfeel and fuller flavour, with only the natural colours derived from the oak casks in every bottle. This same exquisite attention to detail is used in The Lakes Distillery vodka and gin collections too. The Lakes Vodka is ultra-smooth with the characteristics of the finest British wheat for a sweeter, more rounded flavour. Slow and long distillation in their bespoke copper pot still preserves full flavour before blending with only the purest water from their Lake District National Park home.
This pure spirit creates The Lakes Classic Gin (46%, £33.00). A select few botanicals are steeped overnight to extract the maximum amount of flavour. The end result is an exceptionally smooth gin showing vibrant notes of juniper, cracked black pepper and orange peel. This gin then forms the basis of their flavoured and gin liqueur collections, with a choice of Pink Grapefruit, Elderflower and Rhubarb and Rosehip. If you're spoilt for choice, The Lakes Gin gift sets are a great way to sample more. Want more than gin? There is also a beautifully presented Lakes Spirits gift set that not only includes the Classic Gin, but their English Vodka and Signature Blend whisky.