This time last year after the 2018 Campbeltown Malts Festival, instead of heading to The Lakes as we did this year, we headed into Glasgow for the opening of the Glasgow Distillery. The address on their online website at the time took us to an Arnold Clark hire facility. Given the direct links with Tenants, maybe we should have headed to the brewery, but after zero success with various phone numbers and answering machines, we decided to leave it and instead head south to the Cotswolds.
Cotswolds Distillery is a little gem of a place we somehow managed to drive right past first time around. Though we arrived in early June, tours of the distillery [in 2018] were booked up until September. Thankfully, Connor sorted us right out.
The swift emergence of the Cotswolds Distillery during the current whisky boom is a story of serendipity. Right around the time Cotswold’s distillery owner Daniel Szor was ready to set up his distillery, it just so happened that the sale of a new-build farmstead – perfect for a distillery, office and shop – had fallen through. At the same time, a pair of stills had become available after a failed American order. Without these lucky events, he’d have been on a four year waiting list for new pots. As it was, the distillery was up and running within a year.
We briefly meet ex-cage fighter & head distiller Nick Franchino who was due to take his final distiller exams the next day, and Sarah MacLellan who’s parents own & run a pub in Lochindaal. Sarah at the time was/is working in research & development, responsible for bottlings, packaging, concepts,…. as well as mashing & distilling etc. She took us round the still house.
- Yeast strains: Anchor and Fermentis.
- Fermentation: 100 hours
- Cut points: 75-70
- Cotswolds produce 250 litres of spirit per run, making enough spirit to fill 3 barrels a day.
- With plenty of experiments, there’s no cask finishing for now, only full-maturation.
- Like The Lakes, Cotswolds are making gin, using spirit from the wash still run as a base, distilling with botanicals inside their gin pot on a second run before rectifying the spirit for a third time.
We try some things at the bar.
Cotswolds New make  Ob. 63.5% [20cl] WB70
- C: Fairly clean, standard, neutral spirit.
Cotswolds New make  Ob. Plumage Archer Batch 1 63.5% [20cl] WB0
- C: In comparison to the standard new make, this Plumage Archer batch has more coppery minerality and a chewier mouthfeel. A nuttiness also comes through. Hooray for these more complex lower yielding grains. Great to see that English mist too.
Cotswolds Founder’s Choice  Ob. Batch 01/2018 [2850 bts] 60.9% WB85.59
- C: The fruity milkiness of earliest releases is still present but this has evolved away from the more overt 70[STR]/30[bourbon] cask-matured style. Cotswold’s have reduced the ratio to around 50/50 at least, and are beginning to see a more savoury minerality.
Scores 84 points
Of course, that was last year. That’s how cutting edge I am! With thanks to the Cotswolds Distillery team.