When most people think of whisky, Scotland or Ireland may be the first countries that come to mind. However, in recent years, English whisky has been making waves in the industry and gaining recognition for its quality and distinct flavours.

English whisky is a relatively new category, with the first distillery opening in 2006. However, the history of whisky production in England can be traced back to the 17th century, when it was a common practice. Due to various factors, including taxation and the rise of gin as the popular spirit in the UK, whisky production declined in England and almost disappeared entirely by the early 20th century.

Fast forward to the present day, and there are now several English whisky distilleries producing high-quality, award-winning spirits. The most famous and widely recognized is St. George's Distillery, located in Norfolk. Their single malt whisky has won numerous awards, including the World Whiskies Award for Best English Single Malt in 2019.

Other notable English whisky producers include The Lakes Distillery in Cumbria, White Peak Distillery in Derbyshire and The English Whisky Co. in Norfolk. Each distillery has its own unique style and flavour profile, with some using traditional Scottish methods and others experimenting with their own techniques and ingredients.

One of the distinguishing factors of English whisky is the use of locally sourced ingredients. Many distilleries use English-grown barley and water from nearby sources, resulting in a true sense of terroir in the final product. Additionally, some distilleries use non-traditional casks for aging, such as ex-bourbon or wine barrels, which can impart unique flavours to the whisky.

English whisky is still a niche category, with production levels significantly lower than Scottish or Irish whisky. However, its rising popularity among whisky enthusiasts and industry professionals suggests that it may have a bright future ahead. As more distilleries open and gain recognition for their quality spirits, English whisky may become a staple in the world of whisky.

In conclusion, English whisky is a rising star in the world of whisky, with its unique flavours and locally sourced ingredients setting it apart from its Scottish and Irish counterparts. While still a niche category, English whisky is gaining recognition and popularity, and is definitely worth trying for any whisky enthusiast looking to expand their horizons.
March 17, 2023 — Andy Cook