The Lakes Distillery: Whiskymaker’s Reserve No. 3

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The third expression in the Lakes Distillery’s Whiskymaker’s Reserve series has just been launched, and just like the previous two now-sold-out releases, this whisky is matured in a myriad of sherry and wine casks; Pedro Ximénez, oloroso, cream sherry, and red wine casks. I thoroughly enjoyed the first expression, which you can read about here, despite wondering if all that sherry influence was masking the underlying spirit character; it was matured in a combination of red wine and PX casks. Having said that, I did enjoy its rich, robust flavours, and the use of sherry casks is what Lakes Distillery whisky maker Dhavall Gandhi wants the house style to be. He’s also been filling spirit into bourbon casks, and I for one cannot wait to see what those whiskies taste like.

Back to the present, and Gandhi said of this release: “To create our sherry-led house style we use a variety of sherry casks, with a significant proportion being first-fill. The spectrum of flavours achieved through the use of these casks is layered through blending to create the depth and complexity associated with The Whiskymaker’s Reserve. Each expression is then married over twelve months, allowing the flavours to gently integrate and develop. In the case of Whiskymaker’s Reserve No.3, I have used oloroso, cream and PX casks in combination with a small number of red wine casks, to contrast some of the dried-fruit characters and create the aromatic top-note and seductive texture.”

Lakes Distillery Whiskymaker’s Reserve No. 3
English Single Malt
9,700 bottles
54% ABV
£63.95 here

Nose: Big spices up front, with cinnamon, black peppercorns, cumin seeds, nutmeg, and cardamom seeds. Once that subsides, there’s Jamaica cake, dark treacle, some molasses, Black Forest fruits, espresso and dark chocolate. Some metal polish, and sweet leather lurk underneath.

Palate: A little softer than the nose would suggest, with dates, prunes, liquorice, star anise, manuka honey, cherry loaf, and juicy sultanas. Some gingersnap biscuits, caramelised walnuts, and cask stave too.

Finish: Those exotic, woody spices return, with orange marmalade, cask char, black tea, and more dark chocolate.

Overall: Another one which will delight sherry bomb fans – all those rich fruits are there, with a sticky sweetness and earthy spice. Again, the sherry and wine influence really dominates proceedings, but just like the first Whiskymaker’s Reserve release, I found it to be a really enjoyable whisky. For a cask strength sherry bomb it’s very well priced too, especially if you consider some of its Scottish competitors (don’t get me started on Aberlour a’bunadh). If future releases are as high quality as this then we’re in for a real treat going forward.




  1. Absolutely exotic. Orange marmalade and caramelised walnuts is wonderful.

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