An appreciation of the importance of location and the need for creativity are the foundations on which any whisky sits but the real question for a blossoming distillery is, what kind of whisky will you make?
To decide, you can split whisky-making into separate parts of a process: malting the barley, milling and mashing, fermentation, distilling, and ageing the new spirit. Every whisky is made like this, but each distillery does it differently.
For The Lakes and our whiskymaker Dhavall Gandhi, the idea of whisky-making being distinct individual elements is not how we look at the art. Rather it is part of a continuum, a net of possibilities where everything is interlinked. Change one element and the effect will change everything else.
This means not just creating flavour in the new spirit but opening up more flavour possibilities throughout the journey through the distillery. That’s where the casks come in.
Each type of oak will give a different result, as will each size of cask, what it has held previously, and the length of time the whisky has spent maturing. At The Lakes, our whiskymaker doesn’t just control the creation of the spirit, but knows each cask intimately, how the flavours are evolving and then how they then can be blended with others to complement, enhance, deepen, broaden, or contrast.
This is not something which can be done by computer or tick list. This is active involvement. This is blending. It takes time, so the final selection is allowed to marry together for up to a year before bottling, significantly longer than any other whisky. This creates depth, roundness and harmony, the final touch which makes it The Lakes Whisky.
Here at The Lakes, we don’t believe in taking the easy option if there is a better way to maximise flavour. Unusually, Dhavall Gandhi is actively involved at every stage of the journey and it is our holistic approach to whisky-making that we believe sets us apart.