Another English distillery and another whisky trying to muscle itself into the ever growing array of liquids to hit the shelfs which then scream out for us unsuspecting souls to part with our hard earned cash..
I am of course referring to White Peak distillery which is nestled on the banks of the river Derwent just outside Matlock Derbyshire..
Picture the scene, an old derelict wire mill, a guy with a passion for the local area and who wanted a distillery, finds the perfect setting, gets the nod and builds a distillery.. Sound familiar ?
Well Max Vaughan, the founder of the White Peak Distillery is that very guy.. He had a dream and went for it, that dream is now a reality and after years of planning, building and most probably plenty of heartache and countless sleepless nights he and his team finally have some spirit maturing.
I recently bumped into Max at a festival where he had brought a few examples of young maturing spirit in order to start getting the word out about his project and I had to eat a little humble pie !! Several invites had been forwarded to me and I am ashamed to admit I just have not been able to find the time to get my arse down to the distillery, call it laziness, call it what you want I blame work commitments but as I’m finding out it’s me who is missing out !!
Anyway after a chat all be it brief with Max he offered me a dram to try, this dram was a 6 month spirit that was lightly peated and had been maturing in an ex red wine cask, a few sniffs, a sip, a raised eyebrow- impressed is an understatement !!
As I was actually working the event I knew I couldn’t really sit down with the spirit so I boldly asked if I could take away a sample ( yep I asked for a sample..so shoot me ) At the end of the festival Max kindly pushed a bottle which contained a couple of drams of the same spirit as well as a little new make sample which will also find its way into this review..
White Peak Single Malt ..
Distillery.. White Peak
Region.. Midlands ( UK )
Bottled.. 7th January 2018
Cask.. Rejuvenated ex wine cask
This is a single malt spirit.. Naturally coloured and taken straight from the cask..
Nose.. Obviously still a lot of new make influence but there is a distinct sweetness and fruitiness within this spirit.. Extremely subtle hints of peat / smoke mingles with the malty notes of the spirit..
Palate.. A nice fruity start with a little drying smoke is noticeable, there is then a little digestive biscuit note that comes through with a touch of honey sweetness.
Finish.. Drying smoke with a youthful twist.
Thoughts.. Ok let’s not pretend this isn’t young or does not still resemble new make but what is there is extremely promising ! There is a real sense of something good still to come and if this one sample is a real example of what’s to come then this distillery will be one to watch..
White Peak New Make
I believe this was drawn around the 7th January 2019, the abv is 55% so I assume this is watered down slightly for the festival..
Nose.. Very malty reminiscent of horlicks and crushed barley ( obviously ) a hint of red apples freshly peeled, a little orange peel and apple blossom..
Palate.. Everything the nose suggested.. Malty with a little fruity side..
Finish.. It’s new make !!
Thoughts.. This is extremely drinkable, for a new make this really does go down so easily with virtually no bitterness or alcohol burn ( maybe the fact it is down to 55% has helped ) Compare this to the 6 month old spirit and it just confirms the thought process that the wood management is extremely important ..
In the two examples there is no doubt that after only 6 months the wood is imparting a total new flavour profile and the new make flavours are so dampened down already..
These two offerings are a mile apart, the colour change itself is incredible and again just shows that the wooden cask is so important in the creation of whisky as we know it..
My thanks go out to Max for the two samples..