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Taking inspiration from Cognac's cellarmasters, The Lakes Distillery has taken the concept of élevage - a proactive involvement in whisky's maturation - to create intriguing layers of flavour.
"Nurturing the whisky at every stage of the process allows us to control how the flavours are evolving over time. They can be blended with others to complement, enhance, deepen, broaden or contrast."
The Lakes Whiskymaker
We blend science and art to push boundaries in pursuit of flavour creation.
The distillery is on a journey to make whisky that creates an emotional connection. It is our modern approach to maturation and blending that sets The Lakes apart. So much more complex than putting a spirit in some wood and waiting, it is this active commitment throughout the ageing process and the interplay between spirit, oak, and air that creates the majority of the whisky’s flavour.
Devotedly nurturing the whisky at every stage of the whiskymaking process.
Frequently sampling every maturing cask, unlike other distilleries, we regularly effect change by moving the location or transferring the spirit between casks to evolve and enhance the character.
A painstaking and age-old craft, élevage demands patience and time. It also necessitates the whiskymaker to know each cask intimately; how the flavours are evolving and how they can be blended with others to complement, enhance, deepen, broaden, or contrast.
Time unquestionably matters.
But other influences too come into play that can transform a relatively young spirit into flavoursome whisky with a significantly older profile.
Whether it is dunnage or racked warehousing, a warm, damp, high, or low location, or the climate of the warehouse, how the casks are housed affects the maturing whisky. The type of oak and the liquid used to season that oak also has a considerable impact, adding their personalities and integrating with the spirit, before working in combination to build layer upon layer of complexity and an infinite array of flavours.
Each cask is unique.
At The Lakes, we purposefully identify the casks that acquire the core characteristics of our signature style of whisky. Regular sampling each cask, we begin to make changes, blending different flavours to evolve character and encourage an abundance of new nuances from which we can ultimately make our final whiskies.
And when the whisky has reached the peak of its maturity, the casks are hand-selected and married together for up to a year before bottling. This creates the depth and complexity we desire.
"It is only by understanding how these flavours are created and carefully controlling every parameter of the cask make-up and storage than you can fully comprehend the spectrum of possibility."
The Lakes Whiskymaker
Stories told through the art of elevage
The Whiskymaker’s Reserve No.5 is the latest in what has become an internationally award-winning series of single malt whiskies designed by The Lakes Distillery.
To celebrate the release of The Whiskymaker’s Reserve No.5 and to connect the complexity of élevage with the simplicity of enjoying flavoursome whisky, The Lakes Distillery sought the imagination of some of the best Old Fashioned makers in the world.