The penultimate release in The Whiskymaker’s Reserve series is an exploration of a sherry-led signature style for The Lakes Single Malt. Matured in Oloroso, PX and red wine casks, comprising Spanish and American oak. NCF, NC & bottled at 52% ABV.
Appearance: Strong tea/dark copper. There’s an attractive burnt orange hue too. A thin beaded swirl line quickly forms, along with several medium trails. A fairly viscous film forms around the inside of the glass.
Nose: A nice big waft of alcohol, living up to the 52%. Bold and rich on the first sniff, wood notes, blackberries and honey.
There’s some cinnamon and nutmeg floating about too, albeit light. There are some quite bourbon’esque notes in this one. Some dusty books and vegetation also provide another layer.
Palate: A nice oily mouthfeel, initially sweet with a spice kicker. Christmas spices: cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, along with a more confectionary sweet element. Clove studded orange, a white pepper/mild chilli tingle and a very faint sulphur/ashy smoke. A lovely rich blackberry jam flavour (and texture) arrives next and balances beautifully against the spice elements. It evolves really nicely, this one. There’s almost a rye feel to this whisky, not a bad thing as it compliments the other flavours nicely.
Honey-drizzled dried fruits and pastry round off the palate.
Finish: That rye flavour/feel, blackberry jam, black pepper and a little cellar funk. Quite a long finish too, it lingers for a while.
Overall: It’s got some really nice layers of flavour that keep your interest. Coupled with this there’s a lovely balance between the spice and jammy notes for the vast majority of sips, and sometimes the spice dominates a sip, others the jam, it’s a bit of a lucky dip (sip), I like that.