Tasting Notes: The Lakes Distillery – The Whiskymaker’s Reserve No.6

The Lakes distillery have been somewhat prolific of late. Numerous Whiskymaker’s Editions have been released, which demonstrate individual different styles and influences on their spirit, along with the issue of their first “Whiskymaker’s Project” – a showcase of 7 bottlings each with a different ex-sherry cask influence – essentially demonstrating the breadth of flavours available within their express sherry-led future. (See press release here).

Here we see the release of their sixth instalment in the Whiskymaker’s Reserve series, which acts as an open invitation to enjoy their journey on the way to their signature malt whisky. The press release for the Whiskymaker’s Reserve No.6 (see press release here) expressly called out that this will be the penultimate release in that series. Based on the rate of output, we’d expect to see that drop later in the year, with all eyes then on what that signature malt will be. With Whiskymaker’s Reserve No.4 having won the Whisky Awards Best Whisky in the World title – you can imagine it’ll be like that!

For the sixth milestone, the Whiskymaker has looked to showcase the oak cask itself, over the fruity sherry notes:

More flavour-driven, with a focus on accentuating notes of wood spice, it has been principally matured in bespoke-made Oloroso, PX, and red wine casks, hand-crafted from Spanish and American oak, and designed through the art of élevage and blending expertise.

The Lakes Distillery

As with the other recent releases in The Whiskymaker’s Reserve series, this has been bottled at 52% ABV with natural colour and no chill-filtration. This release however sees another hike in price, this time retailing at £85 GBP per 70cl bottle, whilst available.

The Lakes – Whiskymaker’s Reserve No.6


Pretty floral for a sherry-heavy malt. Some sweet rose water flavours, with the accompanying sweetness of treacle toffee and plain chocolate. Those sugary elements with some rich berries and a gentle smell of flaked almonds bring cherry bakewells to mind.


The sweeter elements start things off with salted caramel, glacé cherries, sun-dried raisins, and milk chocolate. The flavours seems to quickly sharpen up and build a a richer and more bitter experience with rich dark chocolate now more dominant and coffee grounds. The richness of the flavours are then surpassed by the ever building wood spice. A cracked black pepper and mace intensity bring things to a fiery close.


The strong wood spice fizzles away for some time before a delicious set of red berries and jammy notes reveal themselves behind the spicy sparkle.


Definitely one for the oak heads out there. The sherry influences are all present and correct but the oak casks themselves do seem to get the larger share of the spotlight. Once again, I have read the marketing after the sampling, and this whisky again sees its mission statement which has been well and truly checked off – if that was the initial intention, of course.

There are a lot of superlatives and exuberant descriptors within the official marketing of this whisky [ed: I mean, when don’t we see that, really?] but the overarching philosophy is about that transparency and their search for what will become their signature bottling. By now, we know it will be sherry heavy, but the texture of the whisky, the level of spice, and the oak character are all vying for attention and an amalgam of all these Reserve releases will surely produce something of unquestionable quality. And that’s what we have demonstrated again here – unquestionable quality. This is another release which exemplifies that The Lakes will not put out anything they don’t stand behind. Whilst not the first whiskymakers in England (The English Whisky Co), or the highest selling (Cotswolds), they are carving out their niche for high-end, high quality whisky.

Official Photo (c) The Lakes Distillery

With that, there is the natural consequence of expense. You can’t have high quality, without high cost, right? This release clocks in at £85 per bottle. The cost of each release in the series has continually crept up higher and higher. Is it just inflation, their growing rent, increased age of whisky, or – as some cynics might suggest – just pure money-making by preying on collectibility? Whatever the reality is – I’m behind them. That should not come as a surprise based on the number of posts I’ve made about their whiskies. I’ve enjoyed this Whiskymaker’s Reserve No.6 whisky for sure, but now I am more invested than ever (emotionally, at least) to discover what that ultimate signature bottling will taste like, what it will be called, and just what level of damage a bottle of it will incur on the old wallet.


Official Photo (c) The Lakes Distillery

Sample disclosure: This whisky was reviewed from a sample received as part of a marketing promotion directly from the distillery. All notes are intended as an honest, fair, and independent review of the whisky itself and not as a promotion. Please drink responsibly. Please drink wisely.

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