I recently visited this distillery which is located next to Bassenthwaite Lake, in the Lake District National Park.
This, if you didn’t know is a new distillery which ran its first spirit on 16th December 2014 and officially opened that year.
The tour itself costs £12.50 (billy no mates here went alone, but a voucher can be used with another grown up to gain entry for £6.25.)
Personally I thought this was quite hefty, especially to a new one looking to attract visitors to their venture.
You are greeted at the distillery by magnificent iron gates which have been designed by a local craftsman. These depict malt, barley and elements of the ingredients used in gin. The distillery itself was a former Victorian cattle farm. Throughout the building you will find quatrefoils (four overlapping circles) with the secular meaning “faith, hope, luck and love” (which I think is rather nice) and which they now use as part of their branding. Oh and don’t forget to go and look at the alpacas.
We were taken upstairs (by tour guide Alan) and shown a flyover video of the history of the distillery from its water source, Sprinkling Tarn in Borrowdale. The journey sees you passing through all the way to Workington. I’m hoping they edit the video as it is quite nausea inducing. If you’ve been you’ll understand, if you’re going, you’ve been forewarned. Aside from the history of the area and building, it was interesting as it covered most of the areas where I have walked / climbed my 25 fells.
We were taken through the distillation process before embarking on the tour. It’s a tiny distillery and all brand spanking new. It kind of felt as if it were lacking the history “romance” of some of the other tours I’ve been on, but with age comes experience…. and theirs will hopefully age well.
In the warehouse we were shown the barrels quietly resting. There were a lot of the Founders’ Club casks and it will be interesting to hear what they are like in future times, and I hope Cdr. James Bond 007 likes his. Sadly we were unable to take any photos on the tour, so no proof. You’ll all have to believe me!
Back in the visitor centre once more, we were given our sample. We tried the One, this is a blend of four whiskies from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. We also tried the distillery’s own vodka – okay and quite inoffensive (not a vodka drinker) and their gin. Having had a sip of the gin previously and trying it again, it is definitely very fragrant and I can’t quite say it suits my palate, however the lady next to me was lapping it up. I actually just bumped into the same couple again in a different village. It was nice to have a brief chat, they asked my thoughts, and I theirs.
Lastly as the group was small (five of us) we were also given the the One which had been finished in an Oloroso cask for 12 months, this was lovely and smooth and you can taste the sherry, it was rather nice. And also the one finished in a Tawny Port cask. This was a lovely colour with a fine nose, the palate was very smooth.
Their first bottling of their legally named “whisky” will come of age in 2018, so we shall see…. I can see this being a “boutique” distillery. I can’t fully explain why. It’s just a feeling I have.