Spirit of Yorkshire Filey Bay Port Finish Batch #1 46% 70cl
The Spirit of Yorkshire Distillery was founded in 2016 by Tom Mellor and David Thompson – Tom was an arable farmer who set up the Wold Top Brewery in 2013 and already had ideas about opening a whisky distillery in conjunction, and so partnered with long-standing friend and marketing expert David to set up the new spirit venture. The barley used for both beer and whisky is grown on Tom’s own fields, with milling, mashing and fermentation taking place at the brewery 4 and a half miles away from the distillery itself – if the distillery was in Scotland, this would not be allowed due to Scotch Whisky Association regulations. In planning the distillery,
Tom and David enlisted the help of legendary distillery consultant Jim Swan, who was well known around the world for assisting new distilleries such as Kavalan, Kilchoman, Penderyn and Lindores Abbey, before his untimely death in 2017. The house style will ultimately be akin to the likes of Glenlivet – fruit forward but somewhat delicate in body.
The Master Distiller is a young man named Joe Clark. Joe’s first job in the whisky industry was as a part-timer in the York branch of The Whisky Shop – at that time managed by none other than yours truly. His passion and enthusiasm was obvious from the very start, and he has worked tirelessly to ensure the early spirit releases from the distillery – under the brand name of ‘Filey Bay’ – are of the highest quality.
In addition to two copper pot stills, a directional arm can connect to a four plate column still, which enables them to play around with reflux and redistillation. Maturation takes place principally in first-fill ex-Bourbon casks from Old Forester, although plenty of experimentation has been done with other cask types and finishing. Indeed, the current core range features a finish using Moscatel Wine casks and an STR ex-Rioja cask finish – STR (or shaved, toasted and recharred) is a signature of Jim Swan’s legacy. Filey Bay Flagship, however, can be seen as the key introduction to the Filey Bay flavour profile, with light, fruity and creamy notes throughout. Unlike other recent new whisky distilleries across the UK,
Spirit of Yorkshire never had any intention to delve into the massive gin or growing rum market, which would have giving them an early and potentially lucrative revenue stream. The only concession they have made was the release of a Whisky and Malt Spirit Cream Liqueur at the end of 2020, allowing visitors to their distillery who didn’t drink whisky the chance to still appreciate their output.
The first Port Finish release of Filey Bay was originally suppoed to be launch in late-2021, but due to a lack of colour and the flavour profile not being up to the team's liking, the 10 Port casks were left to continue influencing the spirit within. And boy am I glad they did - I'm a massive fan of Port involved with whisky and this ticks all my boxes. There is a touch of tannin on the nose, but this is replaced with rich red fruit notes and hints of soft spice. It's a perfect warming dram for cold nights, and will probably be my choice of a Christmas evening treat once the dust has settled!
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