Whisky Magazine Issue 125
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It's full spirit ahead for the Lakes Distillery
Back in the 19th Century a celebrated farmer and slate-quarryman by the name of Lanty Slee distilled reputedly excellent illicit whisky in the Lake District valley of Langdale, but since then, Cumbria has been sadly lacking in a distillery of any sort. Until now.
In December, the first spirit flowed from the stills at The Lakes Distillery, located close to Bassenthwaite Lake and half a dozen miles east of the town of Cockermouth. The venture is the brainchild of Managing Director Paul Currie, son of Harold Currie, one-time ‘MD' of Chivas Brothers and later founder of Arran Distillery in the 1990s, along with Paul and his brother, Andrew.
“I was on holiday in the Lake District with my family and I just thought there really should be a distillery here,” recalls Paul Currie. “It took a year to find the right Lake District site. No new-builds would be allowed so we had to find the right existing site which would satisfy the planners.”
That site came in the shape of an 1850s Victorian ‘model' farmstead, which had lain derelict for several years after being used for dairy farming, and construction work to transform its buildings into a functioning distillery began in March 2014.
“It's a beautiful place, it's got great, characterful buildings to work with, and an excellent location, just over a mile from the A66 which runs east to west through the Northern Lakes,” explains Currie. The water source for the distillery is Sprinkling Tarn, a tributary of the River D...