We venture down south to look at a few of the first releases from White Peak distillery in Derbyshire.
Wireworks First Release
This is the first release from White Peak Distillery located in Derbyshire, England. It was named after the old wire works building the distillery resides in. It was produced from peated and unpeated malt, matured in a combination of ex-bourbon and STR casks.
We're finding an initial breadiness coming through, yeast bloomed in warm water, freshly baked bread rolls, a little butter and a sprinkling of freshly cracked black pepper. There's a red fruit quality appearing too, light notes of strawberries and raspberries alongside a younger spirit note. Giving it some time and air, we're getting sweet apple and pear chutney, a little fudge and freshly peeled mandarin oranges.
The palate starts with sweet icing sugar dusted over apple turnovers, a little Turkish apple tea, fresh peaches, a hint of cinnamon and some red grapes. The mouthfeel is a little bit of a letdown, it's a touch thin and the finish could last a little longer. Going back we're finding mellow black pepper notes, orange peel and the faintest hint of smoke in the background. To be honest, if we didn't know it was peated beforehand we may not have picked that up at all, or equated it more to the charred oak.
Nose (with water)
Reduction brings out a minerality, nut oils, alongside a slight soapiness. There's a new savouriness we didn't expect, and a lot of the lighter fruit aromas have been overwhelmed somewhat. More malt, more breadiness, even a touch of malt vinegar. We're not finding the reduced nose nearly as pleasant as the neat dram.
Palate (with water)
Water brings out the peat, roasted nuts, charred oak and a slight medicinal flavour. There's still a base of orchard fruits and a hint of citrus, but the dram has a heavier overall flavour.
Impressive for a first release, it manages to pack a punch of flavour and aroma at only 3 years old. Saying that, it feels like it's lacking a little complexity and doesn't have as much of a robust texture and finish as we'd like. We'd happily have another dram, but we're not sure we need a bottle. Good price at RRP though.
Wireworks Over Smoke
Over Smoke is a limited release of just 987 bottles, produced from three special STR casks that have undergone an extra process that the distillery refers to as “re-charred over smoke (ROS)”.
Strawberries and pepper. crushed lemon meringue, some orchard fruits too. Quite bright and vibrant, with good alcohol integration to bring out those aromas without punching you in the face with ethanol. Going back to it there's an underlying smoky note here reminding us of burnt twigs and leaves, along with some creamy vanilla to counterbalance.
The palate starts off with fizzy raspberry, quickly deepening in flavour with wet oak, cinnamon, ginger and light tannins. That smoke from the nose continues into the palate, bringing an earthy, slightly astringent and bitter flavour... it's slightly out of balance for us. The mouthfeel is nice with a relatively good texture, and the finish has a decent length, although it ends with dry earth and oak.
Nose (with water)
There's a slight warehouse funk appearing now, wet earth, a slight herbal aroma too. It's still got a vibrancy to it, but less smoke and more earthiness. We're also finding some honey starting to appear.
Palate (with water)
The reduced palate feels considerably thinner, we didn't add too much water but it seems to have ruined the mouthfeel completely. There's cloves coming to the forefront now, more oak and some of that honey from the reduced nose. We feel that it's better without water.
STR casks are the best friends of new, young distilleries, and it's easy to see why. The amount of flavour and aroma the cask can impart over such a short span of time is incredible. For us this doesn't cover up all of the younger spirit characteristics, and this example feels less complex, especially on the finish. Overall we're impressed with White Peak distillery and will give this another 7/10, although we'd say we prefer the first release a little bit more.
- 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
- 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
- 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
- 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
- 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
- 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
- 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
- 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
- 2 - Pour it out
- 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.
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