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Southwold: First whiskies from Adnams’ distillery go on sale

Adnams head distiller John McCarthy, left, and company chairman Jonathan Adnams with the first Adnams whiskies which go on sale today. Adnams head distiller John McCarthy, left, and company chairman Jonathan Adnams with the first Adnams whiskies which go on sale today.

Thursday, December 5, 2013
8:58 AM

A tantalising three-year wait has ended with customers finally able to get a taste of the first batches of whisky from the Adnams distillery in Southwold.

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The two whiskies, one a traditional single malt and the other made from a blend of malted barley, wheat and oats, were distilled shortly after the company produced its first vodkas and gins in October 2010 when the distillery opened.

However, with whisky having to be matured in oak barrels for a minimum of three years, it is only now that the first batches are going on sale.

The official launch date is today, with the whiskies available from Adnams’ own Cellar & Kitchen stores and online via its website.

However, invited customers who had registered their interest in advance had a chance to taste, and buy, the whiskies at a special pre-launch event at the Southwold Cellar & Kitchen store yesterday evening.

As with Adnams’ vodka and gin, its whisky begins with the brewing of a hop-free beer which is then distilled to increase the concentration of alcohol.

Although, like those for vodka and gin, the whisky spirit is initially clear − its colour is derived from the wooden cask as it matures − it is slightly less purified, which adds to the eventual flavour.

While most Scotch whisky is matured in casks previously used for Bourbon whiskey in the United States, Adnams has opted to use virgin oak − French for the single malt, named No 1, and American from the triple grain, No 2.

Head distiller John McCarthy says the result of using virgin oak is a cleaner and clearer taste compared with a traditional Scotch.

With Adnams’ vodka and gins having proved highly successful − its Copper House Distilled Gin won the Gin Trophy in this year’s International Wine and Spirit Competition − the whiskies are also expected to prove popular, and company chairman Jonathan Adnams does not expect the limited stocks to last for long.

“We are delighted with the success of our vodka and gin but when a distillery has got its first whisky out you can really say you have arrived,” he said.

“It does not seem five minutes since we made the first whisky and thought ‘It will be three years before we can find out what it is like’, but now here we are.”

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