The One Port Cask Finished is a whisky from The Lakes distillery and its range of The One, their blended whisky offering. This range features three more bottlings - the Signature Blend, Sherry Cask Finished and Orange Wine Cask Finished. As with each of The One expressions, this whisky has The Lakes' own single malt at its heart and is then blended with Scotch single grain and single malts from the Highlands, Islay and Speyside. The Port Cask Finish has been matured in first-fill American oak casks and finished for one year in first-fill ex-Ruby Port and ex-Tawny Port casks sourced from the famous Douro Valley region in Portugal.
The Lakes distillery is located near Bassenthwaite Lake in the north English county of Cumbria. It was founded by Paul Currie and a consortium of private investors. Production began in 2014 and current capacity is 240,000 litres of spirit per year. There are two copper pot whisky stills and another still for the production of gin. The distillery also has an award-winning visitor centre and has become one of the leading new attractions in the Lake District area.
The One Port Cask Finished is bottled at 46.6% ABV and is also non chill-filtered and of natural colour. It retails for around £48 a bottle and is available from selected specialist whisky retailers in the UK and via www.lakesdistillery.com.
Our tasting notes
The colour is deep gold with a distinct reddish tint and the nose is highly fragrant. Initial aromas of baked plums, brown sugar spiced with cinnamon and bitter orange oil lead the way and these are followed by suggestions of caramel, cherry liqueur and pinches of cocoa powder and white pepper.
On the palate this whisky has a soft, rich feel and it is the notes of caramel and bitter orange that hit first. Then come dried fruits - think of raisin, sultana and a hint of fig - and these give a wonderful depth. They are joined by further notes of moscovado sugar and warming baking spices (imagine cinnamon, nutmeg, all-spice and powdered ginger/ gingerbread especially). The cherry liqueur characteristic detected on the nose is also present but now has more of a juicier feel - think of sour cherries macerated in alcohol. Underneath is an underlying note of soft peat smoke, which adds a distinct savoury quality, and an interesting hint of something floral that is most reminiscent of rose/ Turkish delight. A big pinch of cocoa powder and white pepper round things off nicely.
The finish is rich, long and spicy. The caramel, dried fruit and cherry notes drive the richness and slowly begin to fade. As they do so, it allows the warming spices and soft peat smoke to come through. This gives a robust and drying feel to the finish. Very nice.
What's the verdict?
This whisky is delicious and arguably our favourite of The One range. The balance of interesting aromas and flavours is great and allows ex-Port casks really shine through and contribute well. The whole range offers plenty and takes the base blend in differing directions. It is easy to see why they have proved so popular.
The Port Cask Finished is well worth searching out and is a decent price too. We like the experimentation that is coming out of The Lakes and look forward to see what comes out next, both blended and single malt wise.