The Cotswolds Test Batch Series review

let’s begin

The Cotswolds Distillery is the brainchild of native New Yorker Dan Szor.

Szor would spend much of his life in the hustle and bustle of inner city living while working in London.

On weekends he would escape with his family to the Cotswolds, where they could relax and not be hurried as they went about their business.

It was here, whilst gazing at a field of barley, that Dan had the epiphany that someone should really be malting and distilling this barley.

It seemed like the most obvious thing to do and with that, Dan took himself off to Herriot Watt in Edinburgh to learn the art of distilling for himself.

With a newly acquired knowledge, he then returned to the Cotswolds, where he set up The Cotswolds Distillery and proudly proclaimed the opening of “one of the smallest but prettiest distilleries in Great Britain”.

This is a fact that is undeniable, as the Cotswolds Distillery is set in an area of outstanding beauty.  And they make some pretty decent Spirits to go alongside the view.

As well as making some very fine English malt, the distillery also creates Sherry, Dry Gin, Cream Liqueur and Espresso Martini.

If you are looking for an example of their malt then look no further than investing in their Test Batch Series.

This is a collection of three drams including a new make spirit, a five month old Oloroso Sherry cask matured malt and a ten month old red wine cask matured malt.

Although there are all under three years old and therefore cannot legally be called Whisky, they are a great representation of what is still to come from the Cotswolds Distillery.

They are all bottled at cask strength, which is quite high around 63% ABV.

The new make spirit is something to behold, with lots of rich malty and biscuity flavours on the nose.  It is filled with fresh apples and caramel with an undertone of nuttiness that gives it a nice roundness.

On the palate the fruits takes over, with green apples really showing themselves.  As with many new makes, the malt flavour is strong and well developed.

The fruits are joined by a damp, grassy note that makes them rich and aromatic.  There is also a light spiciness from the oak of the barrel.

To finish, the fruits become slightly more floral and fully developed.  The linger is long and allows you to fully savour it.

Next we have the Sherry casks matured malt.  The Sherry shows itself in a peppery spiciness with a backdrop of malt and sweet fruits to rest against.

These are developed well into the palate, where the fruits really blossom.  They are joined by a wonderfully light and spicy wooded note that captures both the Sherry and the oak.

There are a handful of dried fruits and sweet nuts in the finish, which is medium in length.

The last sample featured in the Test Batch is the red wine matured malt.

This brings heat and spice by the bucket loads but at the same time is refined and knows its boundaries.

The nose is full of cinnamon and nutmeg, dusting a Christmas cake filled with moist fruits such as raisins and dates.

The oak of the barrel is also present, with a wonderfully sweet vanilla flavour that ties in well with the spice.

The cakiness of the nose continues into the palate, where dried fruits run rampant.  Raisins, figs and dates are all present and give off a slight dryness.

The vanilla is also very present on the palate, with a thick sweetness accompanying it.

The finish ties these all together and emphasises the Christmas cake effect.  It is long and dry, with a warming spice at the end.

If this is what the Cotswolds Distillery can present us with in their new make and month old drams, it will be exciting to see where they go when they reach three years!  Watch this space!

Tags: Cotswolds DistilleryDan SzorDrinkWireThe CotswoldsThe Cotswolds Test Batch Seriesvanilla


My name is Greg, and I’m a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. My mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining through my writing, my brand building and my whisky tastings.

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