In fact whilst distilleries of both the "big boy owned" and "Independent" variety continue to thrive and grow in the motherland of Scotchland, further down south things have also been booming along nicely.
Up until a couple of years ago, the only notable whisky producing names in the UK outside Scotland were Penderyn in Wales, founded in 2000 and The English Whisky Co in Norfolk, founded in 2006. Now there is a plethora of new names on the Great British whisky map, made up of existing distillers and those starting from scratch.
From Healey’s in Cornwall and Adnams in Southwold to the Cotswold’s Distillery and The London Distillery Company, the ever growing list is proof if proof be needed, that we’re not only a proud nation of whisky drinkers, we’re now well and truly a proud nation of whisky producers!
One name in particular and one that would fall into the category of starting from scratch, is The Lakes Distillery in Cumbria. Founded by Paul Currie, who just happens to know a thing or two about whisky, having previously set up the Arran Distillery with his father in 1995.
Whisky production itself won’t start at the distillery until later this year, and when it does it’ll be a few years before anything can be bottled post maturation. So in the meantime and as with other newbies, a revenue source will be created through sales of their artisan, small batch ‘Lakes Gin’ and continuing sales of their unique British blended whisky ‘The One’.
The nose kicks off with waves of smoked infused heathery honey, vanilla fudge, a wedge of key lime pie and a distant wondering waft of a Moroccan spice market.
Things then get fruity and fresh with the arrival of granny smith apples, gooseberries, white grapes and a splash-ette of rose water. Followed by a bar of Cadbury’s fruit and nut and a bag of Rowntree's Tooty Frooties.
The palate kicks off with a decadent mouth coating burst of Paul A Young’s chocolate salted caramels, followed instantaneously by a hearty slice of spiced treacle cake, covered in lashings of vanilla custard.
Feisty fiery oak, cayenne pepper, cardamom and toasted fennel seeds make for the next set of palatable pleasures, along with lychees, a handful of chocolate covered dates and something gloriously grain-esque.
The finish provides the perfect sassily spiced long lingering end to what was the consistent and cracking start of the nose and the middle of the palate.
All in all it’s a bountiful, big bang for buck, belting British blend, that makes a lot of promises on its initial nosing, and most certainly keeps each and every one, right on up to and including its final savouring sip.