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A Visit to White Peak Distillery

A Visit to White Peak Distillery

On a rainy day in October I was booked in with my wife to go on the White Peak distillery tour, I could not think of a better place to be, the thought of a nice whisky warming me from top to toe seemed just the tonic!!

The tour lasts 1 hour and cost £15 each, paid online through their website. Our guide for the tour was Sarah who joined the company two years ago, her knowledge of the whole process from distilling to bottling was second to none.

On arrival we were warmly greeted in their small but fascinating shop, where you can buy a bottle of Wire Works whisky , gin, or rum, as well as some very stylish glassware for the tipple of your choice. A nice touch is that you can bring your empty bottle of Wire Works spirit and refill it while enjoying 15% off the retail price, very ethical in today climate.

The shop leads into the tasting room with its industrial modern feel and a very welcoming stove just to keep the cold at bay.

This is a good time to get to know your fellows, some of whom had come from as far away as Sweden! The distillery is housed in the old maintenance building where wire was manufactured from 1876. It’s great to see that these historic buildings have now found a new use, in this case no longer producing wire but Derbyshire’s first single malt whisky.

When you enter the main still house you cannot help to be impressed by the copper stills, one of which is lovingly called ‘Betty’, the 600 litre still that is used to make their award winning Shining Cliff gin and rum.

I was so impressed with the whole process of whisky making, no computers controlling things, just the knowledge and craft of the distillers. What is great to hear is that local produce is used as much as possible, for example the Thornbridge Jaipur yeast, used in the fermentation.

Once we had seen the beautiful copper stills and fermentation tanks we were taken into the storeroom where the whisky comes to rest, in this case either in bourbon casks from Kentucky or Rioja STR casks.  STR stands for scraped (or shaved), toasted and re-charred and indicates that the cask has undergone rejuvenation by having its staves shaved down and then recharred. How this affects the whisky is fascinating, but you will find out on your tour.

Our tour ended back in the cosy tasting room where we were able to enjoy a sample of these beautiful spirits. A firm favourite for me was the Caduro Whisky, which has won a Gold medal in the World Whisky Masters. This release is a unique vatting of Derbyshire single malt, matured in a combination of American and French oak, both first fill ex-bourbon and White Peak’s signature STR Casks. This was followed by the Rum and Shining Cliff Gin, then my wife’s favourite, the 1876 single malt cocktail. A warming, perfectly balanced blend of their Derbyshire single malt spirit, with simple syrup, Angostura bitters and an absinthe rinse.

I must say we really enjoyed the whole experience. The knowledge of the distilling process shared by our guide Sarah really brought the tour alive, it makes you apprciate how much love, patience and hard work goes into making the whisky , gin and rum. To have the White Peak Distillery on our doorstep in Derbyshire is something special, so take advantage of it, and get yourself booked in for a tour, just make sure you sort out who is driving first!!


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