The Lakes Distillery: Whiskymaker's Reserve No. 4

Disclosure: Some blog posts contain commission links. Rest assured that these links never influence my reviews.

Thanks to a delivery driver trying to be helpful (but in fact achieving quite the opposite), this sample of single malt whisky from The Lakes Distillery enjoyed a wee tour of UPS access points here in Edinburgh. All in all, it took about three weeks from when it was dispatched to when it arrived at Kask Whisky HQ. And, even with my lame foot, I reckon I could have walked to the distillery and back in less time. Still, I'll stop bumping my gums and get on with the task in hand.

This is the fourth release in the Whiskymaker's Reserve series (you can read my thoughts about the others here). The Whiskymaker is, of course, Dhavall Gandhi who has brought his experience from his time at The Macallan to this relatively new English distillery.

Dhavall wasn't with the distillery right from the outset; he joined the team two years after production started in 2014 and instantly decided to change the way the spirit was being created. Back in 2017, Dhavall mentioned in an interview with the Spirit Business that he was looking to create "a versatile easy-drinking whisky that has vanilla and tropical fruit flavours, and at the same time a dry fruit character." I guess the difficulty is, at this stage, to truly be able to say whether the single malt releases from The Lakes meet this specific, 'house', flavour profile as a) the distillery and, hence, the whisky is still relatively young and b) there was a shift in the design of the spirit character after just a couple of years.

So, the style of the Whiskymaker's Reserve releases, to date, has been very much sherry-led and No. 4 is of the same ilk. In a previous post, I've said that I found it quite difficult to identify any spirit character due to such a heavy sherry cask influence. Now, I'm thinking that this might also be due to the spirit character simply needing more time to fully emerge.

The fact that one of Dhavall's objectives is to create an 'easy drinking whisky' means that my inability to forensically examine its DNA is undoubtedly irrelevant. It also doesn't necessarily preclude me from enjoying it. And, of all the Whiskymaker's Reserve releases to date, this one is by far my favourite. Maybe it's the bottling strength; at 52%, I found this easy to drink as it is and actually much, much better without water. With just a few drops, the mouthfeel changed and lost its velvety viscosity. Water also enhanced the ginger note a little too much for my preference.

This single malt has been matured in a combination of Oloroso, PX and red wine casks, is bottled at 52% ABV and retails for the £65 mark:

Nose: fresh woodland breeze; toffee apples; hint of fresh lemon; notes of butterscotch sauce and Carambars; runny honey; fresh plums.

Palate: fresh ginger; chocolate covered apples with sprinkles; lick your teeth and notes of mango and kiwi appear; hints of toffee pennies and vanilla fudge but this isn't hugely sweet.

Overall: So, those 'tropical fruit flavours' are definitely there on the palate and develop more in to the finish. This has a vibrancy to it whilst still maintaining a balance of flavours. Looks are deceptive; I would have put this down as an autumnal dram. However, it's fresh and zingy and would work really well as a summer sipper. Good stuff from The Lakes Distillery.

The Whiskymaker's Reserve No. 4 is available on The Lakes Distillery site for £65 HERE and on Master of Malt for £63.95 HERE.

Thanks to Steve at The Lakes Distillery for the sample.

Please note that some of the above links may be affiliate links (which means I would receive a small amount of commission should anyone purchase after clicking them). You can tell which ones are affiliate links by checking the url.

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