The first, the one, the only … The Cotswolds Distillery..

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Some of you may know that I am rather partial to a G & T. This is a taste nurtured from a young age, being the ‘G to my brother’s T’ when ushered away to the drawing-room to make drinks for my parents dinner guests, which was quite a regular occurrence in those days.

It wasn’t exactly a hardship (not that we sampled the Gin at this tender age I may add but a) it meant we could stay up later and b) the tonic was kept in the same cupboard as our favourite bitter lemon, so we could slope off with our reward leaving the adults to their Prawn Cocktail and Soufflés (well it was the 80’s you know!!) It was I think the bitter lemon that lead to me being a Gin not Vodka person!!

The Gin taste developed further in my mid twenties when, living in Barcelona, the words ‘Gin y Tonica por favor’ where never far from the lips of my compadres and I as we sauntered up and down the streets of El Born. Generous amounts of Gin served with huge amounts of ice and lemon all made for a great night out, often!

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Now, back to the point …you may remember that I was delighted to meet Daniel Szor of the Cotswolds Distillery a few weeks ago at the very fabulous evening we had at the Ross & Ross Pop Up  RRlogoedit held at the Straw Kitchen … any how, I said there’d be more to follow on Daniel and The Cotswold Distillery, and so there is….

Daniel was born and raised in New York City, but spent most of his professional life living in Paris and London, specializing in marketing while working with a leading investment manager. It’s really delightful to hear his story about how life has changed for Daniel and his family and how they have managed to create The Cotswold Distillery  in the heart of the Cotswolds…and this is why…

Daniel’s story…

It was during his years in Paris that he was first bitten by the whisky bug. Daniel bought his first cask in 2002 at the newly re-opened Bruichladdich distillery on Islay, and whilst living between London, New York and the Cotswolds he decided to give up the world of jet setting and investments in favour of taking up full-time residence in the old farmhouse that he and his wife had bought, nestled in the green hills of the north Cotswolds.

And I for one am so glad he did!!

Do you recognise this stunningly branded bottle of Cotswolds Gin? Well I can tell you that there’s probably one not very far from where you are as its currently gracing the shelves of all of the best establishments in London, and the Cotswolds of course, including The Wheatsheaf at Northleach, the Kings Head at Bledington and yes, it goes without saying..in the world’s most stocked Gin bar …at The Feather’s Woodstock

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I didn’t know nor had given it any thought that there’s never been a Whisky Distillery in the Cotswolds?! Not a real one anyway, where the product is home-grown on our beautiful fields and brewed here too, straight from the fields …into the glass..

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And yes, I see may be confusing you, jumping from Gin to Whisky in the same breath, but the reason is that..firstly….. WHISKY – cannot be called Whisky unless it’s made over a 3 year period, laid down for 3 years..and it’s laid to rest in wooden casks.

At The Cotswolds Distillery its not just any old cask either, but the finest bourbon, sherry and wine casks have been sourced which will mature the Whisky to develop its rich and distinctive tastes.

The Cotswolds Distillery Whisky is currently doing just that..its having a rest and lying down for it’s 3 year period in the equally fine conditions that Daniel’s team have found for it – an old and perfectly chosen Victorian warehouse in Liverpool. It will then come back for bottling on site in the Cotswolds.

And so, hopefully you are still with me here.…. in the interim Daniel and his team have set about creating Cotswolds Dry Gin whilst he waits for the Whisky to mature !!

It’s not just Gin though it’s really, really completely, surprisingly… incredible in fact and as such by the time the Whisky has appeared it will have found its own fame and place within the annals of ‘World’s best Gins’ and it will be firmly staying put as a product in its own right.

A little about this Gin… …

The Cotswolds Dry Gin is made using a blend of ‘9 carefully considered botanicals

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I urge you to buy some NOW and make sure that it’s in stock for the Spring and Summer evenings ahead..

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A more about little about the Distillery in their own words…

”The first craft distillery ever in the Cotswolds, the new Cotswolds Distillery will produce ultra-premium, small batch single malt whisky in addition to Cotswolds Dry Gin, an innovative English rye whisky and a range of other artisanal spirits.”

Their flagship single malt whisky is made using locally grown barley which is hand malted, mashed and fermented and distilled right here at Daniel’s distillery in the outstanding natural beauty of the Cotswolds.

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”Daniel Szor has assembled a highly experienced team to embark on the creation of the distillery. It includes renowned Scottish master distiller Harry Cockburn and wood and ageing consultant Jim Swan.

Until its unpeated Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky is first released – in time for Christmas 2017 – the distillery will produce and sell Cotswolds Dry Gin, made with local botanicals, as well as a blended malt whisky”.

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Daniel and his expert team

”It will also produce a range of brandies and liqueurs made from local fruits and berries, as well as Cotswolds cream liqueur made with its own new make spirit, and a fortified sherry. All of the products will have a distinctive regional character and will be made by hand using traditional distillation techniques.”

 

So ..for all of you Whisky lovers out there..if you can hold on, for it will be worth it I assure you…then the Whisky itself is going to look like this below…and hopefully someone will get you a bottle for Christmas 2017 if you are very, very lucky!!

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A lovely day out…

The Distillery itself is set in one of the most stunning Cotswold corners, on the outskirts of Stournton near Shipston on Stour and within a few miles of Chipping Norton.  Nearby is all you would need for a great Cotswold day out..with the villages of Broadway and Chipping Campden, as well as Stow, Oxford and Stratford upon Avon all within easy reach. 

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You can take a tour as we did today, try out their glorious spirits and infusions, stock up on Cotswolds Gin, and also get your wardrobe and stocking fillers sorted too all in one go…or of course you can purchase a tour ticket and take a Whisky or Gin lover out for the day.  The tour tickets are £10 per person when in a group and includes a short video explaining all about the Distillery followed by a tour guided by one of the expert staff who will let you sniff and taste the brewing delights as you walk around marvelling at the enormous copper pipes and stills.

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Learning about the Distilling process with Daniel…

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The Gin still

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Espresso Martini

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Copper Distillery

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My first taste of Cotswold Gin, Espresso Martini Gin and more…

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hmmm..a few empty glasses!!

As you walk into the carefully designed ‘cottage rooms’ an array of stunning merchandising is on display and no stone has been left unturned…The attention to detail here is nothing short of exquisite.

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The Cotswold Distillery Candle.   .they’ve thought of everything !!

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The .. ‘start of the tour’ room

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A visit to the Distillery is a great afternoon or morning out for you and the Whisky or Gin lover in your life….but whether you do or don’t get there, then please make sure that you do stock up on that GIN!!!!

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Some initial purchases…

There’ll be more to follow this Summer on The Cotswold Distillery in my ‘adventures around the Cotswolds’

I think it’s nearly G&T time, now where’s Jeeves…?

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xx

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