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Cotswold Distillery Founders Choice

Cotswold Distillery Founders Choice

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Cotswolds Distillery Founder's Choice Single Malt Whisky: A Deep Dive

Awarded "Best English Single Malt" at the World Whiskies Awards 2019, the Cotswolds Distillery Founder's Choice Single Malt Whisky is a landmark dram, not just for the distillery but for the entire English whisky scene. This cask-strength expression showcases the Cotswolds' commitment to quality and innovation, using entirely locally sourced ingredients and unique cask maturation techniques.

A Celebration of Local Provenance

The Founder's Choice uses 100% floor-malted barley grown in the Cotswolds themselves. Floor malting is a traditional method that allows the barley to develop a deeper, richer flavour profile compared to industrial drum malting. The use of local barley not only ensures freshness but also embeds a sense of place in the final product. The crystal-clear Cotswolds water, filtered and softened before use, further adds to the whisky's unique character.

The Influence of the Cask

What truly sets the Founder's Choice apart is its maturation process. Unlike many whiskies that rely solely on ex-bourbon barrels, the Founder's Choice is aged exclusively in STR (Shaved, Toasted, and Re-charred) American oak ex-red wine barriques. These casks, specially designed by the late Dr. Jim Swan, mentor to the Cotswolds founders, are highly active and impart intense flavours onto the maturing spirit. The STR process invigorates the wood, releasing additional tannins, vanillin, and spice notes. Additionally, the red wine casks contribute hints of berry fruit and a beautiful deep colour to the whisky.

Tasting Notes

Nose: The initial aroma is inviting and expressive. Rich notes of honey and toffee take centre stage, interwoven with hints of creamy vanilla and milk chocolate. As the whisky opens up, deeper tones of oak, baking spice (cinnamon, nutmeg), and a whisper of red fruit emerge. The overall impression is one of balance and complexity.

Palate: The first sip delivers a burst of flavour, confirming the honeyed sweetness and toffee detected on the nose. The influence of the red wine casks becomes more apparent here, with hints of redcurrant and raspberry dancing on the tongue. The oak presence is assertive but well-integrated, adding a touch of dryness and structure. Hints of cocoa and baking spice linger in the background, creating a delightful textural contrast.

Finish: The finish is long and warming, leaving a pleasant glow on the palate. The honeyed sweetness fades gradually, allowing the oak spice and red fruit notes to linger. A touch of bittersweet chocolate provides a touch of sophistication.

Serving Suggestions

The Cotswolds Founder's Choice Single Malt Whisky is a versatile dram that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways:

  • Neat: This is the purist's way to experience the whisky in all its complexity. Allow the whisky to breathe in the glass for a few minutes before taking a sip to appreciate the full range of aromas and flavours.
  • With a Drop of Water: A small amount of water can help open up the whisky further, revealing subtle nuances that might be masked by the higher alcohol content. Experiment with a few drops at a time to find your perfect dilution.
  • On the Rocks: Adding a large ice cube can be a good option on a hot day. However, be mindful that excessive ice will dilute the whisky too quickly, numbing the flavours. Use a large, dense ice cube that melts slowly to minimize dilution.

Cotswolds Founder's Choice: A Whisky of Distinction

The Cotswolds Founder's Choice Single Malt Whisky is a remarkable achievement, showcasing the potential of English whisky. Its unique combination of local ingredients, innovative cask maturation, and expert craftsmanship results in a whisky that is both flavourful and sophisticated. Whether you're a seasoned whisky enthusiast or just starting to explore the world of single malts, the Founder's Choice is a dram that is sure to impress.

 

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