Even 20 years ago the prospect of having a whisky distillery in England was laughable. But as whisky has seen a massive resurgence both in popularity and latterly as an investment vehicle, entrepreneurs up and down the country in England (& Wales) have wrought a mini-revolution in the production of first class English & Welsh whiskies.
The White Peak Distillery, based just outside Matlock on the River Derwent is the nearest one to us and I had the opportunity a few months ago to have a mini-tour with the owner, Max Vaughan. Suffice to say he and his his team have created a cracking business here just between Belper and Matlock, producing really good single malts, blends and some rums as well. Naturally I have sampled several of them and as an amateur whisky aficionado I can attest that they certainly match up in quality with anything really, even the best in the business up there in Scotland and further afield. They have won several prestigious awards already, which you can see on their website here. They also produce a great gin.
This is the distillery's ethos, as taken from their website:
"Our home, at a 19th century former Wire Works, has its own rich heritage of innovation and making things the proper way. This strong sense of place and pursuit of flavour has informed our choices; using English (and Derbyshire) barley, developing a special blend of live yeast with links to Derbyshire’s brewing heritage, long fermentations, copper pot stills hand-built to our designs that add the final magic to our spirit.
Wood is important (although we think putting our soul into what goes into the cask is more important) and we’ve selected our casks from family-owned businesses where relationships matter.
All Wire Works Whisky is distilled and matured on site. A unique environment and a full life-cycle of Derbyshire provenance."
The White Peak Distillery has won two medals in the World Whisky Masters, with Caduro being awarded a coveted Gold Medal and Alter Ego with a Master’s Medal – the highest accolade in the competition. Caduro is now a double gold winner, as this medal joins the IWSC gold won earlier in 2023. Alter Ego was the only single malt in this year’s ‘world whisky’ category to be awarded a Master’s Medal!
Anyway, suffice to say that White Peak Distillery now is our preferred supplier of whiskies not just because it is local and we like to support local enterprises, but because its creating excellence at the same time. These whiskies are, we appreciate subjective to individual tastes, but we think they are spot on and urge you to visit, if you can whilst staying with us, and take one of their fascinating tours. Its a cracking day out in an extraordinarily picturesque part of Derbyshire in any case, so what's holding you back?