the lakes distillery
“Our sole intent is to make a whisky which expresses The Lakes through flavour.” - DHAVALL GANDHI
The Lake District has long been a crucible for creativity, a place in which the imagination can flourish, and it’s no different for Dhavall Gandhi. The Lakes Distillery’s whiskymaker takes his inspiration from the UNESCO World Heritage Site where our state-of-the-art distillery has been built meticulously within a 160-year-old farmstead on the banks of the River Derwent.
Whisky-making in its highest form is a dance between science and art, control and creativity.
It necessitates being sensitive to how the climate affects the conversation between oak and air and spirit, and flowing new ideas around this frame.
For The Lakes, the idea of distilling being distinct individual elements is not how we look at the art. Rather it is part of a continuum, a net of possibilities where everything is interlinked. Change one element and the effect will change everything else.
Only by understanding how flavours are created throughout the journey through the distillery can our whiskymaker fully comprehend the possibilities. That is why, unusually, Dhavall Gandhi is actively involved at every stage. It is holistic whisky-making, to ensure every flavour possibility is achieved.
The luxury of time
Fermentation is where the bulk of the spirit’s flavour is created. The longer you allow the beer to sit, the more complex it will become.
They could distil after 48 hours but, under their whiskymaker’s guidance, The Lakes' fermentation process is pushed up to 96 hours, twice the industry average, to create the desired depth of flavour.
Distillation is slow and long; the more contact the alcohol vapour has with the copper still, the fruitier the resulting spirit will be. This is the heart of our spirit, vibrant but also enough body to handle maturation in sherry casks.
Creating their flavour palette
Maturation is more than simply putting a spirit in some wood and waiting.
The oak type and the liquid used to season that oak have a considerable impact on the maturing spirit, adding their own personalities, integrating with The Lakes’ spirit, then working in
combination to produce a new array of flavours, while building up layer upon layer of complexity.
As with his unique spirit creation, Dhavall Gandhi’s expertise in sherry-cask maturation has shaped whisky-making at The Lakes, where, contrary to most contemporary distilleries’ use of ex-bourbon casks, 80-90% of our spirit is filled into different types of ex-sherry cask.
Made from American, Spanish or French oak, in different sizes, the casks are seasoned with Fino and
Pedro Ximenez, as well as Oloroso. This sets The Lakes apart.
The art of blending
This cannot be done by computer or tick list. This is active involvement.
Our whiskymaker knows each cask intimately; how the flavours are evolving and then how they can be blended with others to complement, enhance, deepen, broaden or contrast.
This is the same alchemy of perfumers, who make new scents by creating a pyramid of aromas with base, middle and top notes. Blending whisky is dynamic, it is creative and expressive. It is also personal.
Blending takes time, so the final hand-selected casks are allowed to marry together for up to a year before bottling, significantly longer than any other whisky.
This creates depth, roundness and harmony, the final touch which makes it The Lakes whisky.
Inspired by nature
Their whiskymaker's inner pursuit of perfection fuels an eternal drive to better himself.
His holistic role, at the helm throughout the liquid’s journey through the distillery, unlocks infinite variables and never-ending flavour possibilities.
The Whiskymaker’s Reserve is an artistic exploration of maturation and blending; of flavour evolution and defining a house style.
Creating a new whisky requires a framework of sorts, but there has to be room within it to play, to follow gut feeling and instinct.
The architecture of each release of The Whiskymaker’s Reserve will evolve in keeping with both our increasing sherry cask influence and our sense of adventure.