The Lakes Distillery Whiskymaker’s Reserve No. 1

Fair play to the Lakes Distillery. This time last year, after my review of their blended malt, Steel Bonnets, I thought I would’ve ended up on their shit list. Instead, I received an email thanking me for my honest review.

There were many people out there who enjoyed Steel Bonnets; I just wasn’t one of them. Once again, I’ll reiterate that whisky is entirely subjective and tasting notes simply reflect one person’s opinion.

Also, credit where credit’s due. I’ve heard about a number of reviewers who’ve been taken off PR lists due to their not so favourable take on certain whisky releases. Not so with the team at The Lakes Distillery who sent me a sample of its first general release single malt, The Whiskymaker’s Reserve No. 1.

The Lakes Distillery Whiskymaker's Reserve

Coming in at a whopping 60.6% and with a release of 5,922 bottles, this NAS (although I’m assuming 4 years old) whisky retails for around £65.

Colour: deep gold.

Nose: tinned clementines and evaporated milk; damp wood; red apple comes through after a while; a slight menthol note followed by something slightly herby; McVitie’s Hobnobs.

With a few drops of water (actually quite a few!): there’s a slight nose burn not there previously; crème caramel and toffee apple; poached pears with chocolate sauce.

Palate: oaft! heat, heat and more heat; tinned clementines lead to a fairly short, dry finish. This needs water!

With water: the heat becomes more fresh ginger; mulled wine; dark chilli chocolate.

The Lakes Distillery Whiskymaker's Reserve

Overall, this is an enjoyable dram. It, unsurprisingly, takes a lot of water to open up but, when it does, the nose is fantastic. The palate doesn’t quite live up to the nose although it is still really enjoyable. The PX and red wine casks, which were used to mature this whisky, seem to have been very lively. So I’m just not sure how much, if any, of the spirit’s character is coming through. Having said that, though, it makes a nice change not to have to talk about a distillery using tired, knackered casks.

So, this is pretty good, promising stuff and I’m now looking forward to future releases. Steel Bonnets is but a distant memory 😉


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