Based on the shores of Bassenthwaite, one of the largest bodies of water in Britain, this new distillery only issued its first single malt in September 2019. The Lakes Distillery was founded in 2011 by Paul Currie who had previously set up the Isle of Arran Distillery at Lochranza in 1995. The Lakes’ visitor centre is based in a repurposed mid-nineteenth century farm on the banks of the River Derwent and attracts over 100,000 customers each year.
The distillery’s first release was called The One, a British Isles blended whisky, featuring spirits from Scotland, Wales, England, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. This was put on the market in 2013, before the distillery had been completed as a marker to say that the Lakes was on its way.
In December 2016, Dhavall Gandhi joined the team as whisky master, and now under his influence between 80 and 90 percent of the Lakes’ spirit is matured on-site in a range of ex-sherry casks. In September 2019 the distillery unveiled its Whiskymaker’s Reserve, the first in a long series of projected single malt whiskies from the distillery. Dhavall knows each cask intimately; how the flavours are evolving and then how they can be blended with other casks to complement, enhance, deepen, broaden or contrast in the hope of a perfect whisky.
The Lakes’ latest creation is a Whiskymaker’s Reserve No.3, the third release of a series, matured in the finest sherry and red wine casks. It was released in June 2020 and has hints of incense, spiced chocolate and toffee.
The Distillery Tour and Tasting costs £12.50. A Whisky & Chocolate Tour and Tasting is £25 and meeting the resident alpacas: £12
Rothay Manor, at the top of Windermere, was built in the 1820s by Joseph Crossfield, a wealthy soap manufacturer from Warrington. Like many northern industrialists Mr Crossfield wanted a healthy Lake District holiday home for his large family. A cast-iron balcony running the full length of the manor’s facade at first-floor level is an unusual but charming original feature of the original house.
Later the veranda underneath the balcony was enclosed into the house and the balcony itself was lengthened. Today Rothay Manor’s best six rooms have access to private terraces created by this long balcony.
In 1936 the house became an unlicensed hotel with “garage accommodation”. Today it is owned by the Shail family and run by GM Peter Sinclair who, with his Chef Daniel McGeorge, has turned Rothay Manor into a fine-dining hotel.
Rothay Manor stands 25 miles south of the Lakes Distillery. Its own bar is stocked with the classic Scots whiskies, in particular Glenmorangie, the sweet Glenfiddich, Glenkinchie from near Edinburgh and the smoky Islay whiskies of Laphroaig and Lagavullin. There is even a bottle of Japanese Nikka whisky behind the bar.