Dunkerton Drams – Lake Distillery Steel Bonnets

I was surprised to realize this is the 1st whisky from England that I’ve explored. While I’ve heard about The One series with Sherry, Port and Orange, never had a chance to try. However it turns out this particular expression is a deliberate blend of English and Scottish malt whiskies… so you could call this a transition from Scotland to England.

And what is with Steel Bonnets? These were the helmets worn when robing, raiding and riding… reminders of a time during the 13th to 17th century where the land between England and Scotland was a wild independent mix of kin over kingdom… neither British nor Scottish.

Started in 2011, Lakes Distillery calls home a 160-year-old Victorian farmstead on the north shore of Bassenthwaite Lake in England’s Lake District. There is a proud desi connect with Dhavall Gandhi its whisky master – financial analyst turned whisky scientist and artist.

Curious to discover more… we cracked open our sample and let the experience take us away…

Lakes Distillery Steel Bonnets 46.6%

  • Nose – Dried fruits, light sherry, woodsy even a bit ashy, stewed overripe fruits, wood shavings, manuka honey, sweetgrass smoke… after some time there was also some bitter chocoloate with nuts
  • Palate – Sweet peat, herbal, a nice oiliness underneath, lots of flavour and body, nice spice with substance with more of that sweet smoke
  • Finish – Finally a finish!

There was something so familiar about the aromas. My tasting companion dubbed it an “unblendy blend” as it was and wasn’t like a blend. Certainly one that needed a bit of time to breath and open up… on the palate it became even better after some time. Again with the finish, there was something so familiar. We never were quite able to place it, but certainly enjoyed the experience.

What do the folks at Lake Distillery have to say?

  • Nose: Notes of vanilla, sweet spice and woodsmoke
  • Palate: Creamy, slightly nutty and full-bodied. Vanilla, ginger, nutmeg and hints of dried fruit with a sweet layer of woodsmoke
  • Finish: Long and warming

Yup – we’d agree. And genuinely enjoyed this whisky… curious to explore more as and when opportunities arise.

What else did we try in our 2nd Dunkerton drams evening?

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