This month was a very special tastîng with Dan Svor, the founder of the Cotswold distillery. Less than 30 miles away from SWC base, it is a distillery that we are very familiar with, and we have followed its development from initial conception, the first distillation in 2014, the inaugural release in 2017 to the multiple award-winning distillery it is today. Many of us invested some of our dosh giving us a prized bottle or two of the coveted first whisky to be released and an invite to the inaugural release party. Even though we are very familiar with the Cotswold distillery and its offerings, it was a great opportunity to have a catch up and to introduce some of our newer members to our local distillery.
We started off the evening by tasting:
White Pheasant New Make Barley Spirit: 63.5% ABV, £38 (500ml bottle)
As it comes out of the still with no maturation. At this point it is not whisky, as by law whisky must have matured for three years in oak barrels. It gives a great insight into the core characteristics imparted by the distilleries production process.
Nose: Tropical fruit, banana, and mint. Slightly musty.
Taste: Initially some heat from the high ABV fading into tropical fruits, pear drops and spices
Finish: Warming clove and cinnamon spices
Single Malt: 46% ABV, £38
Produced from barley grown in the Cotswolds and matured in a combination of ex bourbon and red wine STR (Shaved, Toasted, Re-charred) barrels.
Nose: Butterscotch, light fruits, citrus, orange zest
Taste: Apricot, butterscotch, cinnamon, and white pepper
Finish: Vanilla with oak spices giving an oily, spicy finish
Founder’s Choice: 60.5% ABV, £65
A cask strength whisky matured in American oak red wine STR (Shaved, Toasted, Re-charred) barrels.
Nose: Dark fruits, oats, orange, and ginger
Taste: Cloves and ginger, figs, cherries
Finish: Spicy oak, dried fruits
Sherry Cask: 57.4% ABV, £65
Distilled from locally grown barley and then matured in a combination of American and Spanish casks seasoned with Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez sherry
Nose: Fruit cake, brown sugar, cherries, roasted coffee beans
Taste: Figs, raisins, almonds, vanilla
Finish: Peppery spice and dark fruits
Peated Cask: 59.3% ABV, £65
Aged in ex-Laphroaig quarter casks, much smaller than standard casks giving a greater exposure to the oak staves and imparting more flavour in a shorter period of time.
Nose: Vanilla and oaky spices. A whisp of smoke, not as much as you might expect.
Taste: Mild smokiness, wood tannins, light fruit, salt
Finish: Lingering peat smoke and honey sweetness
Another great evening! Dan has a very refreshing, straightforward, and frank approach to the subject of whisky that encourages discussion. All of the whiskies are top-notch and, overall, the Founder’s Choice was our favourite, closely followed by the Peated Cask and the Sherry Cask. The Single Malt came in last - it’s not a bad whisky, it’s just that the other three were more complex in character. That complexity comes with a premium of around £27. Are they worth it? Oh yes!
Thanks to Jo for organising this event.