Tasting Notes: The Lakes' Whiskymaker's Reserve #6

Following on from my last post, about spirits tasting, I'd like to share with you the notes I made recently when I was sent a sample of The Lakes Distillery's latest in their "Whiskymaker's Reserve" series. As has become my habit, I took the sample to share with my Dad on one of my weekly visits, so some of the insights are his.

Presented neat, the whisky is a deep gold/acorn colour. It moves freely around the glass, leaving fine "legs."

On the nose:
One is struck first by a creamy-vanilla aroma, followed by notes of chocolate and coffee. Less pronounced notes of thyme, resin or beeswax creep in as the spirit opens up. The sherry character The Lakes has made its signature is present, but much less obvious than in other Whiskymaker's Reserve releases.

At first, the flavour shows some astringency (not unpleasant). The whisky is full- to heavy-bodied, luxurious and velvety in texture. Those notes of coffee and vanilla are off-set by a rich bitterness at the back of the tongue - something akin to burnt sugar. The whole effect is complex, and it's hard to define the taste without sounding effusive or comical. 

The complex flavours linger for a long time after tasting, the last to disappear being a delightful grassy note that goes unnoticed until it alone remains.

Now with 50% water...
As per the method described last time, we added to the second glass a splash of water of equal volume to the whisky. This brought out much sweeter aromas of muscovado sugar and dried apricot. A citrussy note comes out that hints at pink grapefruit. On the palate, the burnt-sugar bitterness moves around to the sides of the tongue and is now well integrated with the other dark flavours of coffee and chocolate.
The whisky retains its long finish, even with so much water. It now tastes toasted and has piquant touches of cayenne. The grassy flavour is now sweetened and more hay-like.

I am led to believe this will be the last in the Whiskymaker's Reserve series, which has tracked the evolution of The Lakes' house style as a single malt. If this is to be the definitive expression of their whisky, it will be a good news for drinkers. It is complex, rich and smooth, well deserving of attentive and mindful sipping. 

Images in this post are from The Lakes Distillery.


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