St George's Day was a fitting date to celebrate whiskies from England, where are records of whisky making stretching back to at least the mid-18th century and word is that it existed in Chaucer’s day. When the country’s last distillery, London’s Lea Valley, closed in 1903 it sounded the death knell for English whisky – until a few years ago.

it was in 2006 that the renaissance truly began, when The English Whisky Company opened its St George Distillery in Norfolk - the first distillery in England for 120 years. Much research and the exploration of several different concepts ensued, including a micro-distillery. They persuaded Laphroaig distiller Iain Henderson out of his planned retirement to help get them going, and by December 2006 made their first 29 barrels – and the foundation of a new generation of English Whisky.  Fast forward to today when there are now around 33 distilleries across Blighty producing or planning to produce whisky.


We tasted five bottlings from around the Country.

The first was the first cross-border blend of exceptional English and Scotch malt whiskies Steel Bonnets 46.6% ABV, £43 - with a nose of vanilla, sweet spice & woodsmoke.

Second was The English Virgin Oak 46% £52, and as it's name implies is matured in Virgin Oak casks - not often used in the world of whisky making.  These add vanilla notes and creates a quite unique whisky.

Third was from Yorkshire’s first ever single malt whisky distillery Filey Bay Flagship 46% ABV £50 - where all the barley used is grown on family farm.  The palate includes notes of maple syrup, barley and peach.

Our fourth whisky was from the first brewery / distillery (a bristillery?!) in England and where beer has been brewed for 670 years. Adnams Triple Malt Whisky @ 47%ABV £34 is produced using a trio of malted grains - barley, wheat and oats.  It turned out not to be very popular with many WACers with its notes of spice, coconut and toasted oak, citrus fruit and sweet honey.  (But I liked it!)

Our final whisky Sacred Peated @ 48% ABV £48 was a powerhouse of a single malt to end on. With a nose of bonfires and treacle tart and a palate including chocolate at first, before a hint of sea salt emerges - it was delicious!