The English are coming!
The English are coming!
Scottish whisky distillers face a challenge from south of the border
There are certain things in Britain that you expect to go north of the border for such asbagpipes and windswept Highland scenery.
Until recently, another of those things was whisky. Whilst Scotland has a whole range of drams available from legendary names like The Macallan to popular brand Jonny Walker, for 100 years England has produced none - until now.
A father and son team by the name of James and Andrew Nelstrop have distilled a whisky, Chapter 6, in Norfolk - and what's more, it seems to be rather good.
Created using local East Anglia barley and water from the Breckland aquifer, the whisky is due to be sold in shops from December 16 - though their website is currently refusing new orders due to the unforeseen scale of demand. No doubt a few bottles will be set aside by collectors to mark a moment in whisky history.
The first barrels were produced in 2006. However at that point it was not a true whisky, only a 'malt spirit'. Now the three year old has made it out of the barrel and down the hatch, to general applause.
Jim Murray of the Whisky Bible had already described the distillery as a 'fabulous outpost' in the 2010 edition of that influential book, based on his tasting of the maturing malt spirit, and had classed both the peated and plain versions as Brilliant.
That same text already pointed to some serious competition for Scotland in the whisky stakes, and Scots could hardly be expected to greet more competition with enthusiasm. So perhaps the greatest testament to the quality of the spirit is the warming of its reception in Scotland.
This was probably not made easier by the names involved: The St George's distillery is the home of The English Whisky company, and the bottles are awash with the saint's dragon-slaying (though the Nelstrops brought a Laphroaig manager out of retirement to help them).
Nevertheless, the companyis shipping 500 bottles a month north of the border, and expect this to grow.
Because if there's one thing Scots love more than hating the English, it's good whisky.
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Image: The English Whisky Co.
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