Now boasting around 33 actively-producing distilleries, from as far south as Cornwall to the northerly climes of Durham, English whisky is proving that it’s here to stay. When we first started making our whisky tasting boxes back in 2016, only a handful of those distilleries even had whisky available. Now, there are so many high quality drams on the market, we're able to make an entire whisky tasting box dedicated to English whiskies!
That's right! May's box is a carefully chosen selection of 6 of the very best English whiskies we could get our hands on. From very recent releases, to the oldest English whisky bottled to date, and two very special exclusive cask samples, this is the way to explore the best of what English whisky has to offer. Check out what's in store:
The best English whisky: English Distilleries Edition box
Circumstance, Barley in Progress Aged 1 Year
Tucked away in a suburban Bristol industrial estate hides one of the UK's most innovative distilleries, run by bona fide grain geeks. So far, Circumstance have experimented with not just barley, oats, rye and wheat, but even rice and triticale (a rye-wheat cross). This 1-year-young spirit (exclusively chosen for The Dram Team) is a preview of what may form their first whisky release. First, they distilled a mashbill of (organic) unmalted and malted barley. This was then separately aged in both first-fill bourbon casks and virgin Spanish oak, before being blended back together specially for The Dram Team.
Bright and youthful; honey, lemon zest and seeded rolls. A tingly, citrus-sharp mouthfeel. Sherbet lemons, underripe apricots, hints of bitter chocolate and shortbread. Finishes clean and citrusy at first, with soft sweetness and green spices - caraway and cardamom.
Filey Bay, FlagshipFiley Bay Flagship Single Malt
Taking the "grain to glass" trend one step further, Spirit of Yorkshire grow their own barley at their onsite farm. This gives them a unique level of control over the resulting whisky. This is their Flagship - made from their 100% homegrown barley, matured in bourbon casks. The culmination of their evolving First and Second releases from 2019, this single malt showcases Filey Bay's light, fruity spirit. You can buy a bottle of Filey Bay Flagship here.
Light, fruity and creamy with vanilla, toffee, apple and lemon.
The Lakes Distillery, The Whiskymaker's Reserve No.4
English whisky is a vibrant, rapidly growing category, with new releases garnering tons of attention from whisky fans. Case in point: this hotly anticipated single malt from The Lakes. Their 4th release in the Whiskymaker's Reserve range, it launched on April 21st, so Dram Teamers are among the lucky first to try it. The Lakes' single malt has been aged in the finest Oloroso, PX and red wine casks, and bottled at a hefty 52% ABV. Those lucky enough to have tried the previous Whiskymaker's Reserves will notice a clear evolution in style, while maintaining that richly flavourful Lakes character. Only a few thousand bottles will be made, so enjoy while it lasts! You can buy a bottle of Whiskymaker's Reserve No.4 here.
The nose is rich with Manuka honey, sun-dried dates and roasted cashew nuts; layers of dried fruits, nuts and spice on the palate create a long and vibrant finish.
Cotswolds Distillery, Founder's Choice
The gorgeous countryside of the Cotswolds has not long been known for having a whisky distillery. And yet, now there is one, it seems blindingly obvious - all that fertile farmland and clear air! Cotswolds Distillery use locally grown Odyssey barley, which benefits from a slow ferment (circa 90 hours) and two different yeast strains. The Founder's Choice celebrates their use of STR (shaved, toasted, recharred) red wine casks, and comes in at a very generous cask strength.
Dry hay and cut wood, with dark chocolate and dried figs, and plums in sweet syrup. Warming cereal and toast notes, with lots of fresh red fruits and butterscotch. Hints of spicy oak, lots of dried fruit and a lingering nutty, dry note.
English Whisky Co., 11 Year OldEnglish Whisky Co. 11 Year Old single malt
Claiming the title of England's oldest running whisky distillery, St George's Distillery (home of the English Whisky Co.) released their first whisky way back in 2009. Sitting just north-east of Thetford, Norfolk, the family behind the distillery has a 600-year history of working with grain. In addition to making both peated and unpeated single malt, they also make excellent grain whiskies and liqueurs. Here, we are thrilled to include this 11 year old single malt, the oldest English age statement whisky you can find!
A complex nose with citrus, baked apples and hints of almonds. A taste that is fruity with some lovely oak overtones. Ends with a rich, oily and slightly dry finish.
Bimber, Cask Sample - PX Finish
Bimber is another English whisky darling distillery, whose releases have been notoriously quick to sell out. Luckily, we were able to get our hands on our very own cask sample exclusively for this month's Sixth Dram: a Pedro Ximénez sherry-finished single malt. Having their own cooperage on site, Bimber are able to ensure high quality wood meets their fruity, spicy single malt. We think that's done wonders for this particular dram - delicious!
Golden syrup, oak char, wood polish, baked apple tarte tartin, dried fruits and gingerbread. Apple danish, grilled pineapple drizzled with more golden syrup, dried apricots, roasted coffee and cinnamon. Long and lingering finish, toffee-sweet with oak and baking spice.
How to get your English Distilleries Edition box
We really think this tasting box showcases some of the best English whiskies around!
Every month we work hard to bring exciting, unique whiskies to our members. Even more reason to join the club today and start exploring more great whisky more often.
We also write regular emails to our members, which is the best way to stay informed on upcoming subscription boxes, plus loads of other must-read whisky info. You can get on the list by signing up here.