Dan Szor is the owner & founder of the Cotswold distillery. After 30 years in finance he decided a new direction in life was in order, one that would involve him actually making something from scratch. Having already owned a private cask at Bruichladdich, he was inspired by Jim McEwan who suggested he should make his own whisky. Their spirit turned into whisky just in time for TWE show 2017.
They are using local Odyssey barley and have been experimenting further with four other grains from the area including Plumage Archer. The grain then gets malted down the road in Warminster.
Harry Cockburn [Ex-Bowmore master distiller] came in initially to help run and set up the ‘key-turn distillery’, designed & installed by Forsyths. With no previous whisky making experience, Nickolas Franchino who was also looking for a new direction in life post academia, hospitality, importing & cage fighting,…. earned his Heriot-Watt brewing & distilling qualification to become the Cotswolds master distiller.
Jim Swan was hired in [for a day] and got to work with the yeast, ferment and maturation policy. Given the fruity remit, Jim suggested his patented reconditioned [shaved, toasted & recharred] red wine casks for their core expression alongside first-fill bourbon. The current mix I was told is currently 30% bourbon and 70% red wine casks.
First up though, let’s try the new make.
Cotswolds new make spirit  Ob. 63.5% [20cl] WB70
- N: Clean spring water freshness.
- T: Nutty macadamias with a juniper & rosemary gin-like progression.
- F: Malty chocolate, aniseed and clove.
- C: Wow, a new make with form!
[May contain butter]
- N: It may only be three years old but there’s nothing juvenile here. Its profile is of a sweet lemon & honey sponge.
- T: Squidgy/tasty with some nice spice.
- F: Olive oil mouthfeel finishing with notes of light cocoa.
- C: Seems those STR wine casks are just the ticket for the Cotswolds spirit. Who’d have thought? – Jim Swan, that’s who!
Scores 80 points
The distillery and visitors centre [including numerous daily tours] is open every day with visitor numbers around 30,000 a year.
With thanks to Zoe Rutherford.