Whisky Review: Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky

, | March 6, 2018

Single malt whiskies are here to stay, and that makes for many interesting opportunities for the intrepid consumer. That also means that there is a very real possibility that one could grab that pretty bottle off of the shelf at the local liquor store and end up with something less than exciting. But when one happens across an exceptional bottle, it’s an experience well worth the hunt.

Cotswolds, from a young English distillery, is one of those exceptional bottles. The inaugural release of this single malt, from locally sourced Odyssey barley, is a delicious and compelling expression of the craft and artistry of the team behind the label.

Cotswolds is the brainchild of Dan Szor, with the help of master distiller Harry Cockburn. The firm originally earned its wings manufacturing a London Dry gin. Not surprising, given that most new distilleries have to find a way to stay in business while honing in on their passion project. However, Cotswolds made the cut with their award-winning gin and quickly gained an avid following who were eagerly awaiting this release.

What is Odyssey barley? Well, to be frank, I had to look it up. If you don’t feel like clicking a link, in short, it’s a high-yield, disease-resistant, late-maturing grain that is well-suited for this limestone-rich environment. Cotswolds uses local grains, local water (which, being filtered through the limestone in the soil, may or may not call out Kentucky bourbon,) and two Forsyth copper pot-stills, Mary and Janis (not to be confused with Jadis of “The Walking Dead”,) then aged in first-fill bourbon casks, and shaved, toasted, and recharred casks at a 30-70% ratio.

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The spirit itself is lovely, hitting the nose with notes of honey, almond, butterscotch candies, and a hint of caramel leading into richer tones of over-ripe stone fruit and late 90’s incense. On the palate, it’s absolutely a single-malt; rich, vanilla, pie-spices, and surprisingly, dried late-fall fruit with a slightly oily finish that I am not mad at.

Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky

image via Elizabeth Powell/The Whiskey Wash

Tasting Notes: Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky

Vital stats: No age statement, 46% abv, Odyssey barley, non-chill filtered and blended on-site.

Appearance: Light amber honey at the fill, golden hued on the edge of the glass.

Nose: The inside of a malted milk ball, almond, peaches almost, but not quite, going rotten, but not in a bad way.

Palate: Delicious; almond, honey, hints of cocoa and trail-mix fruits.


The Takeaway

Limited production, first-release single-malt that is surprisingly tasty coming from a distillery that is less than 4 years-old. I would hunt this down, buy several bottles, and open one immediately. Then, hold the rest for special occasions; such as your team winning that thing that they play or benchmark life events.Run, don’t walk, to your local spirits specialist and grab some. You won’t regret it.

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