By Father John Rayls
When I started becoming acquainted with this English Whisky from Cotswolds Distillery, I wasn’t expecting much. This in spite of The Whisky Bible scorings of 94 points, 94 points and 95 points over the last 3 years. But I have to say this whisky is the real deal, and those scores are not exaggerated.
The Cotswolds Distillery was founded in 2013 by Daniel Szor, a native New Yorker having lived in London for several years. , with production beginning in 2014. Making whisky was new for the picture postcard Cotswolds region, but Szor picked a locatation near his home with an amazing water source in limestone bedding. They insist on using an artisanal approach to the malted barley using a floor-malting procedure involving stone floors, a kiln, and using wooden shovels and rakes. The malt is turned religiously twice a day, seven days a week. The result is a remarkable and surprising English whisky bottled at 92 proof with no age statement (NAS). It retains its natural color and is non-chill filtered.
The whisky has a beautiful, deep copper color, which is surprising considering its relatively young age (3 years). There are unpolished brass highlights, while the legs are thick and prolific.
The aromas were waiting to grab my attention and I noticed them before picking up my glass. They were somewhere between medium and aggressive in their intensity, but soft, sweet, fruity and very inviting. I actually had to fight the temptation to skip the looking and nosing and jump directly into the drinking portion of the tasting, paradoxically because the nose was so enticing! Notes of brown sugar, fresh fruit, honey and fresh apricots right off the tree.
The aromas created an expectation of the type that was ripe for disappointment, yet the flavors actually exceeded what I was expecting. Initially, there was a mouth-filling creaminess that exuded richness and class with flavors of honey, brown sugar spice and fruit jam. In addition, there is a malted milk presence underneath the main action that asserts itself with the beginning of the finish. The finish was fantastic and long and it simply refused to quit. The mouth was already filled with spice, but the warming continued to grow transforming into a strong pepper presence on top of a creamy vanilla and ginger. It never presented itself as hot, but kept up a very warm and reassuring presence.
This is a definite keeper and you need to start looking for this gem. You might be tempted to use it as strictly a desert drink… don’t do it!
The suggested retail is $60.00 here in the States and £40 in the UK.