My impression of The Lakes Distillery is still mostly based of two underwhelming whiskies and an underwhelming distillery visit. But, there’ve been lots of changes since. And The Lakes The Whiskymaker’s Reserve No. 5 should be cut from a completely different cloth.
Most importantly, this single malt was distilled completely at The Lakes Distillery. Big difference. It matured in a series of active casks. Oloroso, Pedro Ximénez and red wine casks. Either made from Spanish or American oak.
And the creation of The Lakes The Whiskymaker’s Reserve No. 5 was inspired by the principle of élevage, which originates from the world of Cognac. Monitoring every cask frequently and instigating small changes as needed. Perhaps changing the location of casks or transferring spirit between casks.
All this is inspired by Dhavall Gandhi, The Lakes’ whiskymaker. He joined the distillery in 2016. These last few years he has really made his presence felt. He previously worked at The Macallan, which comes in handy, because The Lakes Distillery wants to appeal to a luxury audience.
But he also has many, MANY ideas on whisky. Just read these articles on Master of Malt and you’ll immediately understand he is a very passionate and knowledgeable individual.
So, hopefully The Lakes The Whiskymaker’s Reserve No. 5 means a new beginning for my relationship with this distillery. It’s not fair to just keep clinging to those earlier, not so great experiences.
The Lakes The Whiskymaker’s Reserve No. 5 (52%, OB, 2022)
Nose: It’s pretty dense. There’s hints of juniper, strawberries, eucalyptus and rose petals, but also figs, sultanas and cranberries. Touches of oak, acidic red wine and aceto di balsamico too.
Taste: The oak is very present. Ginger, cloves and cinnamon with whiffs of dates and raisins. Maybe some nutmeg too, accompanied by dark chocolate and salted caramel. It’s really all about the wood here.
Finish: Drying and tannic with lingering spices.
Photo: The Whisky Exchange