The Lakes Distillery
As a new distillery, they knew that to prosper they cannot play safe.
True to the place, they must be willing and happy to take risks, to challenge convention, and be imbued with the creative urge to look for the sublime, rather than the pretty and nice.
The final whisky must say 'I am The Lakes'.
But challenging convention doesn’t mean rejecting whisky’s heritage. If the whisky is to be truly ours, then it must learn from experience of centuries, but also move forward in ways which are appropriate to this distillery. They must take this model and interpret it their way.
The idea of whisky making being a series of distinct and individual processes is not how they look at the art.
They see it as a continuum. A net of possibilities where everything is interlinked. Change one element and the effect will change everything else; and it is only by understanding how flavours are created throughout the spirit's entire journey through the distillery that they can fully comprehend the possibilities.
That is why, unusually, their whisky maker is actively involved at every stage.
THE CREATION OF SPIRIT
Every whisky uses the same process and starts with the same raw ingredients, but each distillery does it differently.
Making an unpeated whisky, they choose malted barley dried without smoke. Adding pure heated water from the Lake District National Park, they break the grain down to release sugar.
The slower the mashing process and the more they recirculate the water, the clearer the resulting wort will be... and the fruitier the spirit will become.
AN OBSESSION WITH FLAVOUR
When it comes to flavour creation, they refuse to cut corners on quality and time.
With a sherry-led, wood-forward, and flavour-packed signature style, they require a robust and fruity new make spirit whose character can be enhanced during maturation.
Taking inspiration from perfumers who make new scents by creating a pyramid of aromas, they opt for a combination of three different yeast strains during fermentation to create multiple layers of flavour.
Fermentation time is pushed up to 96 hours, allowing them to reach malolactic fermentation and create the complexity and creamy texture they require to deliver a rounder, fuller mouthfeel.
SLOW POT-STILL DISTILLATION
Distillation is slow and long, maximising the alcohol vapour's contact with their copper still.
With a very narrow cut point, this makes a fruitier and more robust spirit, designed to complement maturation in the finest sherry seasoned oak casks.
Following a very slow and mellow reduction, the result is an elegant New Make Spirit, with light to medium body, mixed berries, tropical fruits, a hint of cereal notes, and a creamy texture, the distinctive style of The Lakes Single Malt.
AN ACTIVE INVOLVEMENT
Whisky maturation is much more than simply filling casks with spirit and waiting.
The oak type and the liquid used to season that oak have a significant impact on the maturing spirit, creating more than 80% of the flavour and almost all the natural colours.
Many of their casks are made to bespoke specifications. Adding their own personalities as they integrate with their spirit, they work in combination to produce layers of depth and complexity.
By carefully controlling every parameter - oak type, drying time, toasting levels, seasoning - we build layer upon layer of complexity. Practising the art of élevage, they take a pro-active approach to create the flavours we are looking for and make The Lakes Single Malt.
THE ART OF BLENDING
Undertaken unconsciously by us all every day, blending is an element of whisky making rarely spoken about when exploring single malt.
A technique used to highlight specific characters and nuance; blending brings the flavours together.
Integral to their story, it is not something which can be done by computer or tick list. Rather, it is a dynamic involvement, where creativity, taste and expertise collide.
Bringing multiple layers of flavour from different casks together in harmony, the art of blending creates complexity and depth. It is the final touch in their whisky making process.