White Peak Wire Works Small Batch 06/2022 English Single Malt Whisky 47.7% 70cl
The White Peak Distillery is based in Ambergate, Derbyshire, 12 miles North of Derby city centre. It was founded by Max and Claire Vaughan in 2016, following a dream for years of producing a single malt whisky in Derbyshire, despite no previous experience in the drinks industry. The distillery is sited in a 24km stretch of the Derwent Valley that was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 2001, within the old Maintenance and Store Sheds of the Johnson & Nephew wire works that date back to 1876 and lasted for 120 years, which itself was rebuilt from a family owned iron forge from the early 1800s. The motto for the distillery is taken from that of the wire works – Virtus Patienta Veritus, the virtue of patience and truth.
Initial releases from White Peak include a range of gins and a Cask Aged Rum, with their first Single Malt Whisky release initially scheduled for launch in November of 2021. However, supply issues with the distinctive bottle that pays homage to the wire and cable produced by the old factory meant the first release was delayed to February 2022.
The team employ a long fermentation and use two copper pot stills of 3,000 and 2,100 litres in volume. Water is sourced from the River Derwent immediately adjacent to the distillery, utilising some of the old pumping infrastructure for their condenser cooling system. English barley is used, and when I visited a couple of days before the launch of their First Release the team had begun a run of spirit that was using barley taken purely from Derbyshire.
Wire Works Small Batch 06/2022 is the second 'Small Batch' release, replacing the initial 'Summer' 03/2022 batch. Using a combination of 80% unpeated and 20% peated English barley, resulting in a phenol level of around 11 PPM, a four-day fermentiation period used a yeast blend incorporating live yeast sourced from the nearby Thornbridge Brewery. Spirit filled into first-fill ex-Bourbon, virgin oak and shaved, toasted and recharred red wine casks - all made from either American or French oak – at a variety of ages averaging around 4 years were then selected for the batch, with predominently STR being used as well as a significant amount of ex-Bourbon. However the casks used for this batch were selected from a different part of the dunnage warehouse that was slightly warmer, and alongside bottling at a slightly higher ABV of 47.7% this means there feels to be a greater depth of flavour, both in terms of dark fruit notes and deep, subtle smoke. It definitely shows a progression in terms of the Wire Works profile, as the team work towards what they feel will become their 'core' bottling.
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