Thursday, February 2, 2023

Review / The Lakes - The WhiskyMaker's Editions 'Infinity'

This single malt whisky is from the English distillery of The Lakes. It forms part of their revamped limited edition and small batch The WhiskyMaker's Editions range. This experimental set of whiskies was previously known as WhiskyMaker's Reserve. This Infinity bottling has seen their single malt matured across four different ex-sherry cask types - Fino, Manzanilla, Oloroso and Palo Cortado. The four have then been combined in differing percentages to create Infinity. The WhiskyMaker's Editions - Infinity has been released at 52% ABV and is both non chill-filtered and of natural colour. It is available from seelcted specialist whisky retailers and should cost around £90.

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.

Our tasting notes

The colour is a deep coppery amber and the nose is rich, sweet and fruity. Deep aromas of dark dried fruits (think of raisins, sultanas and currants) and caramel play alongside toasted oak, nuts and a big pinch of baking spice. The nuts are reminscent of walnuts and hazelnuts. Underneath are further aromas of orange oil, peanut brittle and a hint of black treacle.

On the palate this whisky feels rich, decadent and viscous. The combination of ex-sherry cask types is exquisite. Dark and sweet dried fruits are to the fore - think of raisins, sultanas and currants as on the nose, plus some candied orange. There are also other sweet notes of toffee and caramel, alongside hints of treacle tart and milk chocolate.

The palate continues and gets deeper with the evolution of the nutty notes from the nose. These have a toasted and drying quality (think of walnut, hazelnut and brazil nuts especially) that compliments the richer and sweeter elements well. A hefty pinch of woody and baking spices add further depth and warmth - we detected cinnamon, all-spice, mace and a hint of clove.

The finish is long and fruity. The dried fruit and rich sweetness pulls the finish along and slowly begins to fade. As this happens the finish develops more warmth and dryness. This is led by the nutty and spicy characteristics from before. It works superbly well.

What's the verdict?

This latest bottling in The WhiskyMaker's Editions is a stunner. The combination of the four sherry casks, three of which are rarely used in whisky maturation, is sublime and makes us wonder why more people do not experiment with them more. The richness and sweetness is superbly balanced with warming spice and drying nuttiness, with a pleasant hint of dusty and earthy qualities. 

This series has always been innovative and it will be interesting to see how the future bottlings develop. The only issue is that it seems a little high in price versus its competitors, but at least the quality is high. Definitely worth a try if you get the opportunity.

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