Nurturing flavour at every opportunity

To prosper we cannot play safe. We must be willing to take risks and challenge convention.

Our Whisky Story

As a new distillery, we know that to prosper we cannot play safe.

True to the place, we have to 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 has to learn from experience of centuries, but also move forward in ways which are appropriate to this distillery. We have to take this model and interpret it our way.

Holistic approach

The idea of whiskymaking being a series of distinct and individual processes is not how we look at the art.

We 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 we can fully comprehend the possibilities.

That is why, unusually, our whiskymaker 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, we choose malted barley dried without smoke. Adding pure heated water from the Lake District National Park, we break the grain down to release sugar.

The slower the mashing process and the more we 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 we refuse to cut corners on quality and time.

With a sherry-led, wood-forward and flavour-packed signature style, we 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, we 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 us to reach malolactic fermentation and create the complexity and creamy texture we require to deliver a rounder, fuller mouthfeel.

"If you are happy to sacrifice some efficiency, yeast offers a tremendous opportunity to create depth of flavour and character."

The Lakes Whiskymaker

Creating continuity of character

Whiskymaking is an additive process. It relies upon every element linking together, and understanding how flavours can be nurtured, developed, and improved at every step of the journey.

Following hundreds of trials, our automated spirit-making process sees distillation in both a wash and copper-pot still. Each and every distillate is checked by our whiskymaking team to ensure quality, consistency, and that we have the right character and style.

Slow pot-still distillation

Distillation is slow and long, maximising the alcohol vapour's contact with our 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 of the natural colour.

The majority of our casks are made to bespoke specifications. Adding their own personalities as they integrate with our 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, we 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 whiskymaking rarely spoken about when exploring single malt.

A technique used to highlight specific characters and nuance, blending brings the flavours together.

Integral to our story, it is not something which can be done by computer or tick list. Rather, it is an 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 our whiskymaking process.

"Innovative whisky-makers are at work the length and breadth of England now. And one of the most ceaselessly inquisitive of them is The Lakes Distillery."

Decanter Magazine