We’re delighted to introduce you to our limited edition Sauternes Cask Single Malt Whisky, the first whisky to be released in our Hearts & Crafts series. This collection takes its name after the ‘heart’ cut of the spirit run during whisky production and the well-known Arts & Crafts movement which flourished in the Cotswolds and placed great emphasis on traditional craftsmanship - the same values upon which our small but perfectly formed distillery was built. Over the years, we’ve been patiently filling small parcels of unique casks which we will release once every year as part of the series, including both European and American oak casks seasoned with Pineau des Charentes, Calvados, Banyuls, Madeira, and other tasty wines!
The Inspiration - A Desire for Hand-crafted Quality
With the Industrial Revolution came the general decline in traditional craftsmanship, causing great discontent amongst many critics and artists. As a consequence, the late 19th century Arts & Crafts movement in Britain aimed to reform the arts and replace mass-production with manual handiwork - a notion that resonates with us and reflects our very own ethos.
The Cotswolds had strong links to the movement, as the picturesque charm of the area epitomised the rural, pre-industrial way of life which urban followers of the movement had been longing for. The revolutionary British designer and leader of the movement, William Morris, whose beautiful patterned design we have used to decorate our Sauternes Cask Single Malt Whisky tube, would spend much of his time at his Cotswold country retreat, Kelmscott Manor. Nearby Chipping Campden even became home to the Guild and School of Handicraft, one of the most important Arts and Crafts workshops of the time.
The Predecessor Liquid - Sauternes Wine
The casks which we have chosen for our first Hearts & Crafts single malt release are ex-red wine barrels which have been rejuvenated then seasoned with Sauternes wine - a deliciously sweet wine named after the Sauternais region of the Graves area in Bordeaux where it is produced.
Sauternes wine is made using Sémillon, Muscadelle and Sauvignon Blanc grapes which have been affected by Botrytis cinerea, also known as noble rot. Although this may sound rather unappetising, noble rot is key to producing Sauternes, as it causes the ripe grapes to become raisined and produces sweet, distinct flavours. Noble rot considerably reduces the quantity of wine produced and also requires specific growing conditions, making it one of the most expensive wines to produce throughout the Bordeaux region. Aged in high-end French oak casks, Sauternes wine is typically characterised by notes of apricots, butterscotch, vanilla and pears, balanced with a slight acidity.
From Wine to Whisky
We began making our Sauternes Cask Single Malt Whisky by using 100% locally grown barley from the Cotswolds which is traditionally floor-malted by hand at Warminster maltings. The malted barley is then mashed and fermented for an unusually long period of time using two different yeast strains before being distilled in our two copper pot stills. We then took our fruity new make single malt spirit and aged it in a small parcel of premium French oak casks seasoned with Sauternes wine for its entire maturation, as we do for all of our single malt whiskies. These casks impart further flavour and complexity on our new make spirit, including delectable notes of peach and nectarine and a honeyed sweetness. Once aged for its full term, we bottled the single malt whisky onsite with only minimal proofing down (55.2% ABV), non-chill filtered and no added colouring.
Nose: Raisin and malted biscuit, opening up to notes of peach and ripe pears.
Palate: Honey with fresh nectarine and a touch of lemon zest leading to creamy vanilla and warm oak wood spice.
Finish: A long finish with lingering spice and layers of light fruit.
Our Sauternes Cask Single Malt Whisky has a limited availability - pick up a bottle now to avoid disappointment!