The nature of their art is whisky, and their inspiration is the natural beauty of the UNESCO World Heritage Site where a 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. It needs to respect tradition, but not be hampered by it and, for The Lakes, that means having a whiskymaker who works across what seem to be two very different disciplines, that of the artist and the scientist.
Under Dhavall Gandhi’s guidance, the idea of distilling being distinct individual elements is not how they 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. That is why, unusually, Dhavall is actively involved at every stage of the spirit’s journey through the distillery. It is holistic whisky-making, to ensure every flavour possibility is achieved.
The oak type and the liquid used to season that oak has a considerable impact on the maturing spirit. At The Lakes, they favour ex-sherry casks made from American, Spanish or French oak, each adding their own personalities and working in combination to create a flavour palette. By knowing each cask intimately; how the flavours are evolving and then how they can be blended with others to complement, enhance, deepen, broaden or contrast, The Lakes’ whiskymaker hand-selects the final casks, which are allowed to marry together for up to a year before bottling. This sets The Lakes apart.
Released in September 2019, The Whiskymaker’s Reserve is an artistic exploration of maturation and blending; of flavour evolution and defining a sherry-led house style for The Lakes Single Malt. A series of bottlings will follow, with the architecture of each release evolving in keeping with The Lakes increasing sherry-cask influence.