Just over a week ago I went on a trip up North, starting with Edinburgh, moving back down to Carlisle and then stopping by The Lakes Distillery on my way home. The main reason for this trip was the Great Big Malted Meetup (#GBMM2017) organised by Maltman Mike and held at House of Malt in Carlisle. The meetup was a free event involving a selection of new distilleries (new in whisky terms at least), an independent bottler and a fantastic bottle from Tomatin. Tickets were snapped up by a selection of whisky bloggers and vloggers as well as whisky enthusiasts local to Carlisle.
I arrived in Carlilse earlier and spent a bit of time at House of Malt browsing through their impressive and well priced selection of whiskies, gins and beers. After popping out to check-in to my hotel and grab a bite to eat with Vin (No Nonsense Whisky) we headed over to House of Malt early to give a hand with setting up and to have a good natter with anyone else who arrived early.
The evening kicked off with…. GIN! Yes you read that correctly. Tenu gin is special though as it is UK exclusive for House of Malt. Now I’m very much a whisky drinker, not a gin drinker (other than the odd G’n’T) however I found this quite enjoyable and not harsh even when drinking neat as some more well known and cheaper brands of gin can be. I suppose that should be expected though as this gin is distilled and bottled in the Valamo Monastery Distillery in Heinävesi, Finland and is is crafted from rare wild forest ingredients deep in the finnish taïga—the last primitive, untamed forest wilderness of the north.
Next up was a presentation from Cooper King Distillery – I’ve done a short piece before about their Founders’ Club which can be found here. Now Abbie and Chris haven’t even finished building their distillery yet so as they talked us through their back story and plans for the future we enjoyed a fantastic Cask Strength from Tomatin.
Abbie and Chris plan on distilling their first spirit around Christmas this year (2017), until then though you can still sign up to one of their Founders’ Club packages here and become a part of their story. I’ll be looking at the history behind Cooper King and their plans for the future in another article soon.
After Cooper King’s presentation came Jan Beckers from Douglas Laing – an Independent Bottler with an extensive range. For this event we were being guided through a selection of Single Grain whiskies from their Old Particular range paired with specially selected biscuits and cakes. Single Grain whiskies seem to get overlooked a lot, mainly because they’re often mass produced and used in blended whiskies to reduce the cost. However the range we were treated to showed that grain whisky isn’t all cheap rubbish used to cut costs. So much so in fact that most of us came away at the end of the night with a bottle for ourselves (I took the Loch Lomond 19 year).
The third distillery of the night was The Lakes Distillery with Chris Pateman – similar to Cooper King the Lakes Distillery ran a Founders’ Club (now sold out). I joined their Founders’ Club back when I first started my blog and have enjoyed their new make spirit since then. By next year they will have their first actual single malt for sale, for now though they have a range of blended whiskies called “The One” which comes in various finishes. For the meetup we got to try their standard blend The One as well as Twany Port and Pedro Ximenez finishes. We also got a treat with a dram of their two year spirit at cask strength (60% abv).
Last but not least we had Wolfburn Distillery… or at least we had a range of their stunning whiskies presented to us by Maltman Mike and Brian from Malt Musings. We got to try a range of their whiskies including No.128 which has a limited run of 6,000 bottles. The last whisky we got to try was something even more special though – Wolfburn Morven. This particular expression is 46% abv, non chill filtered with no added colouring. Oh and by the way it’s brand new and at the time we tried it at the meetup that particular bottle was the only one in existence! You can pre-order it though from House of Malt for £44.95.
If you would like to read more about the meetup and the whiskies we tried then follow the link below to Malt Musing’s post which includes links to additional articles giving more details from the evening.