Given the current political climate, it could be considered a gutsy move for an English distillery to unveil the first product containing their own single malt whisky as a Blended Malt that also contains Scotch whisky.
So when The Lakes Distillery announced their first ever “cross-border blend of exceptional English and Scotch malt whiskies”, no doubt some eyebrows were twitching. Personally, I couldn’t care less either way as long as the whisky’s good! If not, then Gateshead people could make better whisky than anyone, we just choose not to!
Anyway, the name of this new product – Steel Bonnets – is a reference to the Border folk of the 13th to 17th Centuries who sided with Kin before Nation, so maybe they’ve left enough room to appease even the most opinionated of onlookers!
But enough of the historical marketing angles! Here’s the low down…
Steel Bonnets Scottish & English Blended Malt, 46.6%, £65
Colour: Pale Gold
Nose: Slight sharp spiritiness soon gives way to a more woody spiciness. Oaty biscuits and a slight suggestion of esters: pear drops, maybe tinned pineapple.
Palate: Sweeter than the nose suggests for a nanosecond, then a delicate pepper burst and back to oaty cereal flakes. There’s a touch of freshness to it as well, mainly apple. Ends with over-ripe bananas.
Finish: Spicy dryness dissipates to Bombay mix and fades.
Overview: A good start for the new distillery in Bassenthwaite. A place for everything and everything therein it, thank you very much! We’ve not been given any details on the casks used or even the proportion of their spirit used in Steel Bonnets. I’d guess that it’s mostly (if not all) bourbon casks and about 30%-50% own make. That said, it still leaves a lot of questions as to what The Lakes will come up with in coming years – and all we can do, fellow Loungers, is wait!