Cotswolds is an area in southern England, and while one might think this is gin country, a distillery has popped up (in 2014) that is also producing single malt whisky. Says the distillery, “The first whisky ever distilled in the Cotswolds, it uses 100% locally grown, floor-malted barley and has been aged in first-fill ex-Bourbon barrels and reconditioned red wine casks (premium first-fill Kentucky ex-bourbon 200-litre barrels and reconditioned American Oak 225-litre red wine casks that have been shaved, toasted and recharred). We are one of a very small number of British whisky-makers to use 100% floor-malted barley. This comes to us from Britain’s oldest working maltings, in nearby Warminster. It is unpeated.”
We’ve previously reviewed Cotswolds Gin, a fine example of the London Dry style. Now let’s see what the same blokes can do with English whiskey.
While there’s no age statement here, Cotswolds immediately showcases both youth and power on the nose, with a rather green, almost hoppy element leading the way to hints of coal dust, hemp rope, burnt bitter orange peel, and some cloves. The palate takes this very savory beginning and opens up some new doors, introducing flavors of orange blossoms, an allspice note, and dark chocolate bubbling up on the back end. While it’s youthful and quite grainy at times, there’s an imposing power to the whiskey that lets it showcase an impressive range of flavor despite being such a young spirit. The finish is a bit burly, but it’s also cleaner than you’d expect, a clear sign that Cotswolds Single Malt could, in time, grow into something special.
92 proof. Reviewed: “2014 Odyssey Barley,” Batch 2/2017.