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The Lakes’ Whiskymaker’s Editions
The Lakes Distillery was established in 2014 near Bassenthwaite in the Lake District. Residing within a refurbished farm, the distillery launched its first single malt in 2019. Since then, it has (at least in my view) gone on to establish itself as one of the very finest producers of whisky in England. The Whiskymaker’s Reserve has gone from strength to strength whilst the Whiskymaker’s Editions have added some intriguing diversity to the distillery’s output.
The Whiskymaker’s Editions are a series of diversions from the distillery’s sherry-led house style. They are an expression of creative freedom, showcasing the talents of head whiskymaker, Dhavall Gandhi. The latest release in the series is Mosaic, a single malt said to take inspiration from the Silk Road, the ancient avenue of east / west trade and cultural exchange.
The Silk Road
The Silk Road, or more correctly, Silk Routes, were a network of Eurasian trade routes active from the 2nd century BCE until the mid-15th century CE. The route derived its name from the lucrative trade of silk textiles produced in China. It began around 114BCE with the Han dynasty’s expansion into central Asia and its search for trade partners and new alliances. The Parthian Empire, which stretched from Eastern Anatolia to Afghanistan formed a bridge to East Africa and the Mediterranean where the Roman Empire was just beginning to form.
Over its 1500 years of existence the route saw the rise and fall of Empires, the coming of the Black Death and various other cataclysmic events. It played a significant role in developing trade relations between China, Korea, Japan, India, Iran, Europe, Africa and Arabia. As well as allowing for the trade of goods, it provided the means to exchange ideas, religions, philosophies and scientific discoveries. It brought people together in a way that had never happened before.
The Silk Road ended abruptly when the rise of the Ottoman Empire severed trade between the east and west in 1453. The world was dramatically changed as Europe sought alternative routes to the riches of the East and the years that followed saw the rise of European colonialism, a rather dark chapter in our history that is too often swept under the rug.
The significance of the Silk Road is only now being fully understood. In June 2014, UNESCO designated the Chang’an – Tianshan corridor of the route a World Heritage Site and the Indian portion is being considered for the same.
The Whiskymaker’s Editions: Mosaic is bottled at 46.6% and should retail around £80.
Smell: Rich caramel and exotic spices. Cumin. Cayenne. All-spice. New oak. Honey. Dried fruits, like a wee suggestion of the usual sherry style. Dark chocolate. Fruit jam. Wood stain. Water brought out some fresh fruit spirit character
Taste: Toffee and big, big spices. Though that’s spice as flavour rather than an abundance of heat. Nice silky texture. Lots of fresh oak. Dried fruits. Figs. New wood. Slight hint of rum about it. Water toned down the intensity of the spices and improved the overall balance. Evolves into a dry, wood spice finish.
Thoughts: The Lakes’ run of form shows no signs of slowing. The whisky has body, intensity and an interesting character. It may take inspiration from the past but it has a structure to it that makes it feel very modern. A certain man-made quality that showcases the skills of the blender. Some whiskies feel like they’ve been carefully created, like putting together the pieces of a puzzle while others feel like a fluke of nature brought spirit and wood together in a spectacular way. This falls into the former camp though that is by no means a criticism. It’s a whisky that suits the name: exotic, luxurious and a meeting point of different flavours and aromas.
Value for money: I think some may be put off by the asking price which does seem a little steep. There’s no doubting it’s a whisky of high quality, however, and I can’t see too many being disappointed with their purchase – even at £80. Not sure I liked it enough personally to pay the price but it’s certainly a very interesting dram and worth trying if you get the chance.
For more information on the Lakes Distillery visit here