Tasting Notes: Wire Works – Small Batch

Located in Amber Valley in the Peak District, England, the folk at White Peak Distillery have broken the mould by being the first (legal) makers of whisky in Derbyshire. The distillery is the ultimate passion project of husband and wife Max and Claire Vaughan, who have established their distillery within an old Wire Works factory that runs along the River Derwent, just outside of Ambergate – hence the name of their whisky.

2022 has been a landmark year for the team as they launched their first official whisky back in February, and have been continuing at a pace since. At the time of writing, the team have just released their 6th whisky expression of the year (Wire Works Small Batch – Autumn Edition), but here we are concerned with that release’s predecessor and 3rd entrant to the Wire Works roster: Small Batch.

White Peak have kept an emphasis on local Derbyshire ingredients for their English Single Malt Whisky by using barley from within the county where possible, which has been (very) lightly peated, and by using a unique combination of brewers yeast from a nearby brewery [ed: possibly Thornbridge???]. These ingredients and a long fermentation period have been created to produce their house style recipe.

The resultant spirit has then been housed in a combination of approximately 2/3 shaved, toasted, and recharred (“STR”) casks and 1/3 ex-bourbon casks. The team have an STR programme with various levels of char, and they have even some swapped American oak heads with French oak heads, to experiment with cask influence over time, and this features a combination of all. The final spirit has then been captured at 46.2% ABV.

Wire Works – Small Batch (OurWhisky)

Nose

Really soft and sweet fruit delivery – white wine, peach, grapes, and orange all dancing around. A bit of time and there are some darker fruit flavours too like raisins and cherry, later bolstered by dark chocolate flavour and bitterness.

Taste

Some delicious chocolate orange sensations here. There’s a medley of fruits and berries at play, and some warming cinnamon and nutmeg spice. There is a really really gentle peat smoke to it at the end too – like the little slightly charred taste on a choux bun / profiterole.

Finish

Great heat and a slightly tart, bitter, and nutty finish.

Verdict

Lovely little sipper. There are a whole host of flavours and touches in this, and the slightly bitter finish stops this from purely easy drinking and keeps up the level of intrigue. Loads of little flavours are released with each sip. That’s even more of an achievement when you consider that the contents are all only 3-4 years old. That youth means it light and bright but with fruitiness, juiciness, and depth that invites sip after sip. The sample ended fairly quickly and I think that a full size bottle would too.

I was led down a merry path with the word peat in the descriptors too, but it’s a complementary flavour rather than being the heart and soul of the whisky. Even when they say it’s lightly peated, that gives a different impression – it’s just there. That peat may be lost over time as they grow older but in this batch it is sitting pretty amongst the many fruity influences.

It’s great there is now whisky available from the Peak District too. Any long walk/ramble round there deserves a snifter along the way, and now there’s a local selection available. Quite the selection too. Whilst the first releases obviously all got snapped up, at the time of writing they have put out 6 different whiskies this year already. The latest is an autumn edition of this Small Batch. They all have different recipes, cask influences, and percentages, and – having seen and read interviews with the Vaughans – they are having fun with it too.

This release makes their lowest ABV release to date at 46.2% with most others over 50%. I received this sample through the OurWhisky subscription and during their interview for a live tasting (link here) Max and Claire Vaughan raised an interesting point about the need to gain the attention of whisky enthusiasts and bloggers to spread the word during their early days, but noted that newcomers may be intimated by such high (50+) ABV. They were also very open to needing the feedback and support whilst balancing the need to appeal elsewhere too.

Official Photo (c) White Peak Distillery via OurWhisky

It has to be noted too that their full size bottles are beautiful. Really unique styling with that tapered and twisted neck plus the modern but minimal branding stuck to the bottles. I love the concept of using their site’s unique history as a wire works factory to credit the facility’s new purpose.

This is another example of a young whisky that I have tasted recently where you could easily say that it’s got promise but this is great in its own right, and another positive step for English whisky.

M

Official Photo (c) White Peak Distillery via OurWhisky

Sample disclosure: This sample was received as part of a paid subscription to OurWhisky. All notes are intended as an honest, fair, and independent review of the whisky, and not as a promotion. Please drink responsibly. Please drink wisely.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s