This whisky is the latest addition to the Cask Collection series from Cotswolds, the award-winning English distillery. The Cotswolds Bourbon Cask has been created using 100% Cotswolds barley with the spirit then undergoing full maturation in first-fill ex-bourbon barrels made from American white oak. It joins the Founder's Choice, Peated Cask and Sherry Cask in the collection. The Cotswolds Bourbon Cask is bottled at 59.1% ABV and both is non chill-filtered and of natural colour. It is exclusively available via www.cotswoldsdistillery.com and their three retail shops. These are located at the distillery in Stourton and in the towns of Broadway and Bourton-on-the-Water. The price is £64.95.
The Cotswolds distillery is located in the village of Stourton and was founded in 2014 by Daniel Szor. The company ethos is to only use barley grown on Cotswold farms and filtered water from the village supply. This barley is then malted on a traditional malt floor at the local maltsters in nearby Warminster. Whisky and gin are produced along with a range of liqueurs. The distillery run tours daily and also have a shop and tasting room on site.
Our tasting notes
The colour is vibrant gold and the nose is fresh and sweet. Aromas of vanilla, runny honey and white chocolate hit first and are supported by oat biscuits and a hint of coconut. Underneath are suggestive hints of fresh sawdust, green apple, patisserie pastry, a pinch of cinnamon spice and lemon zest. Very enticing.
On the palate this whisky is immediately hot and peppery. The high ABV kicks the senses and takes time to settle. With a little patience the heat slowly subsides and a delicious set of flavours begin to layer on top of each other. First comes a wave of vanilla and white chocolate with background notes of creamed coconut and gingerbread. Then comes a hint of juicy tropical fruit drizzled with honey and something reminiscent of apricot compote. The layers keep coming with dried citrus zest (both lemon and lime), some tart green apple and an increasingly influential note of malted cereals - this again has the biscuit-like quality felt on the nose.
The finish is of decent length and becomes increasingly hot as the sweeter and fruity notes fade. The result is that the malt, spices and a distinct oaky note take control again. This gives the whisky plenty of grip, structure and warmth once the whisky has been swallowed.
What's the verdict?
This is another delicious offering from Cotswolds. It is easy to see why they have won so many awards and gained so many fans. Right from the word go, you know you are in for a treat. The nose is fabulous and leaps from the glass. The palate takes time to evolve but is worth battling through the aggressively high strength. That is our only issue with this whisky - a lower ABV could have helped here and made it more accessible to more people. Otherwise, very good.