Spirit of Yorkshire distillery

It’s been a busy summer at Clara’s Den, and we’ve been pleased to welcome dozens of guests to our stylish and welcoming holiday apartment. We’ve had some fantastic comments about how much they have enjoyed staying at our apartment, which is lovely to hear.

Now the nights are drawing in and the weather turning cooler, is it time to stop visiting the coast? No! Autumn and Winter are fantastic times of year to see the coast in a different light, and with vacancies in October, November and December (but not Christmas, a guest has already booked their special Yuletide break with us!) why not plan a getaway on the beautiful Yorkshire coast.

Long cold nights are made considerably more comfortable if you have something to warm you up, like whisky! There’s no need to travel to Scotland or Ireland, lovely though those places are, to visit a distillery – did you know there’s one just a few miles from Filey?

It’s true – there’s now a whisky distillery on the Yorkshire coast. Located in the beautiful ancient village of Hunmanby, the Spirit of Yorkshire distillery has been set up by the people behind Wold Top brewery, a very successful brewer of beer based in Hunmanby, to create Yorkshire’s first single malt whisky.

Photo from escapementmagazine.com

Everything they use in the brewing and distilling process is sustainably produced locally – the barley they use is grown on their family farm, and spring water comes from their own borehole. Although when I visited they were honest and admitted that they transport the barley to be dried – all the way to Bridlington!

I went on the distillery tour, which is very reasonably priced and included tastings of the spirit in various stages of maturing. They started by explaining the history of the company, their aims and ethos. The guide was more than willing to answer the questions I had about the whisky business, and provided samples of barley dried in various ways so I could smell how the different dying ,ethods may affect the end taste.

I was then shown around the distillery itself, and the workings of the copper stills – made by the ‘Rolls Royce’ of stills makers! It was fascinating to see how the whisky making process is part science, part art, and with more than a little instinct thrown in. I wasn’t able to take any photos as, with that much alcohol in the atmosphere, they don’t want to take risks of sparks!

I got to taste some of the ‘new spirit’, which is the clear liquid which comes out of the still, just before it is put in a barrel. At 63% strength it packs quite a punch! The guide explained how they use barrels sourced from all over the world – bourbon barrels from the United States, red wine barrels from France, even sherry barrels. All of these interact with the spirit in different ways to provide flavour and colour.

I then got to try the two different ‘editions’ they had released at that point (they have since released another edition). As legally they can’t call it ‘whisky’ until it’s been in the barrel for 3 years, on the bottles it says ‘maturing malt’ – but it tastes plenty good enough to me.

After a visit to the lovely cafe, where they supply huge slices of cakes as well as light lunches, teas and coffees, I got myself a bottle of Edition #2 which I have been enjoying greatly.

I’m no whisky expert, but it’s clear that the passion and expertise they are putting into the Spirit of Yorkshire distillery is leading to a truly quality product, and I can highly recommend the tour and the cafe.

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