One of the newest attractions to open in the Lake District is the Lakes Distillery, at Bassenthwaite Lake, offering people the opportunity to see how the largest whisky distillery in England and the Lake District’s first legal (!) distillery operates. Being intrigued by both the prospect of a Lake District Whisky and the fact that it is only a few minutes away from us in Setmurthy, we recently popped in to take a look.
The distillery is in an idyllic location in a sympathetically restored Victorian farm on the banks of the River Derwent. Crossing from the car park, you enter the complex through some beautifully decorative iron gates and enter the shop, from where you can take a tour to discover the secrets to how the Lakes Malt Whisky, Gin and Vodka are made. Led by an enthusiastic local guide, tours last just under an hour and include some history of distilling in the Lake District, a visit to the still room and a peak into the distillery’s aromatic warehouse where the casks of malt whisky are patiently waiting to mature. A highlight of the tour has to be the beautifully shot atmospheric film tracing the route of the River Derwent from its source at Sprinkling Tarn, through Keswick and Cockermouth as it makes its way to the sea. This river, running metres away from the distillery itself, is where the water comes from to make the Whisky, Gin and Vodka, giving it a unique Lake District character.
As all good distillery tours should, the tour concludes in the tasting room where you are given the opportunity to sample some of the products. Sadly the malt whisky won’t be ready for another 3 years, but you are able to try the blended whisky produced by the Distillery, called The ONE. This is the world’s first ever all British Isles blended Whisky and is described as “slightly smoky, sweet and fruity, nutty, with hints of spice.” You also get to sample the delicious Lakes Gin, flavoured with 12 local botanicals including juniper and heather. Best served ice cold, this gin is smooth enough to drink neat but would also be lovely with ice and a splash of Fever Tree tonic water. It is easy to see why this product has been winning awards and accolades all over the world.
Then for all the retail addicts there is the chance to buy whisky, gin and vodka and related products in the stylish shop. We think the distillery is a great addition to the area and whilst staying with us we highly recommend taking a tour yourself. Then afterwards, come back and settle yourself in our lounge or bar and maybe sample one of the many single malt and blended whiskies we stock and see how the Lakes Distillery compares.
Tours are £12.50 per person and operate daily on the hour from 11am – 5pm.
(As a guest at The Pheasant Inn, you are eligible for half price tickets to the Distillery tour, valid until the end of December 2015)