Every distillery has their own unique distillation and blending process in order to create their signature drams. One of the most experimental distilleries in this regard is a small distillery in English beauty spot, The Lake District, which (less than 30 miles from the Scottish border) can utilise processes which are forbidden by Scotch whisky regulations.

Just over a decade old, The Lakes Distillery believe in pushing the boundaries of traditional whisky making. While they are inspired by the whisky industry's long and illustrious history, The Lakes use original, modern methods in order to achieve new and exciting expressions. It's worked a treat for them so far - having scooped up a slew of awards.

So, what is it exactly that sets The Lakes' whisky making process aside for the rest?

The answer? Élevage.

What is élevage?

Élevage is a proactive involvement in the whisky's maturation; rather than leaving the spirit in the casks to mature untouched, the liquid in each cask is watched closely by the whiskymaker to see how the flavours are evolving.

It is a French term meaning "raising", a historic term hailing from wine-making. The process is still used in the process of wine maturation, in which barrels of wine are sampled and blended together to bring out the best in every bottle. It is also used in Cognac maturation, of which The Lakes Distillery was deeply inspired.

At the distillery, the aging spirit is regularly sampled to allow the whiskymaker to have a deep understanding of the whisky every step of the way. This way, the whiskymaker knows what changes need to be made in order to achieve the desired expression. For example, changing the location and climate of maturing casks, moving whisky between cask types, and blending whisky from different casks.

By this active method of maturing whiskies, the whiskymaker is able to draw flavours from drams that would not be possible otherwise. This process allows The Lakes to create some of the most unique whiskies on the market.

The Whiskymaker's Reserve Series

The Whiskymaker's Reserve Series leans into the vast potential of The Lakes’ élevage method. The series consists of unique expressions that explore the possibility of experimental maturation and blending. Each release boasts a stunning sherry influenced single malt that has undergone an intimate journey with the whiskymaker to create totally individual expressions. The series includes the award-winning Whiskymaker's Reserve No.4, which was named World's Best Single Malt at the World Whisky Awards 2022. This extremely impressive expression spent its maturation period in a combination of Oloroso, Pedro Ximenez, and red wine casks to create fabulously sweet and spicy flavours.

You can shop our entire collection The Lakes Distillery’s whiskies here today!