A Love of Malt
This article was featured in the Yorkshire Post on 25th July 2017
My real fascination with whisky started in Tasmania in 2014. I tried some of the greatest whiskies I have ever tasted that year whilst visiting the island’s many small, boutique distilleries. The distillers in this country were making truly hand-crafted spirit in small batches, with such a contagious passion. They had little industry experience and yet radiated this can-do attitude; one of their whiskies had even been crowned the best in the world.
Overeem Port Cask
I will never forget cracking open a bottle of Overeem’s port cask whisky whilst sitting in sleeping bags in the back seat of the estate car in which we were living. It was a gift from a friend and an absolute treat of a whisky. It had intense Christmas pudding flavours and was a complete luxury; it was such a contrast against our otherwise frugal life as backpackers and farm labourers! My girlfriend Abbie (now fiancée and business partner) were blown away. It opened our eyes to just what an incredible spirit whisky is, and got us thinking about opening our own distillery back home in Yorkshire.
As a young chap, I remember tasting my father’s whisky at the dinner table with the rest of the family. I can still recall the bizarre yet intriguing flavours of those peaty whiskies as so often found on Islay in Scotland. Skip forward several years and Abbie and I are in Edinburgh, sat in a window seat of a cosy seafood restaurant, when the waiter picks up on our interest in whisky. He brings over a generous measure of Lagavulin 16, which upon first nose, transports me right back to the dinner table with my father, taking those small sips of spirit that I was too young to fully understand.
I find whisky fascinating. From a relatively straight forward production process, using only three ingredients – water, grain and yeast – a distiller can produce a remarkable array of aromas and flavours. Many people don’t realise the freshly distilled spirit that comes off the still is completely clear, and all the colour comes from the oak casks the spirit is aged in. I love how a genuine craft whisky can be influenced so heavily by the distiller and their choice of cask. Using skill, scientific knowledge and artistic flair you can create something incredibly captivating.
The Adventures Have Only Just Begun
A love of whisky has led me on a journey spanning the globe. I’ve met some inspirational people, tasted some unforgettable drams, and I am now sat writing this just 100 metres from the site of my own self-built distillery, which will start producing spirit this year. The adventures have only just begun.