Cotswolds: Single Malt Whisky (English Single Malt Whisky: 46% abv)

Visual: Pale darkened gold. Very slow but thick streaks come from the spirit.

Nose: Strong alcohol. Menthol. Wheat fields. Floral. Vanilla. Barley biscuits and oat biscuits. Honey. Water makes lighter. Husked wheat. Slight chalk. More water adds banana notes.

Body: Smooth. Vanilla. Custard. Alcohol burns if held. Dry oak. Honey. Quite dry overall. Water adds more honey. Oat biscuits. Soft apricot. Dried banana.

Finish: Dry oak. Honey sheen. Dry overall. Water adds a clean sheen over the tongue, and more honey. Soft apricot. Tinned tropical fruit. White chocolate. Dried banana. Dry mead.

Conclusion: Water. Definitely not the enemy of whisky, despite what some purists might say. I have said it before and I will say it again – if anything water is whiskey’s best friend and rarely should they be parted.

Neat this is …workman like – smooth, though overly warming if held. It is quite dry with some solid honey and vanilla notes in there. A good base, a tad too dry, and overall nothing to write home about.

Water, first of all, helps out with the dryness and reduces down the alcohol burn. Good start. Still workmanlike but polished workman like with all the rough edges taken off. Here it is smooth drinking, if not special.

A touch more water and now it really gets going – apricot notes come out, along with a kind of dried banana note that reminds me of the esters you can get in yeastie Belgian blond ales. So now we are cooking with gas – smooth, sweet but with a bit of complexity to get your teeth into.

It’s still not a must have for me, but this is some very good spirit at the base – I am very interested to see what they do with it in the future.

Background: Been hearing good things about the Cotswold’s whisky for a while, but was wary of splashing out on a full sized bottle – thankfully this 5cl miniature turned up at Independent Spirit which made it easy to give it a try. This seems to be their standard expression- non chill filtered, a tad higher than normal abv for a standard expression. Don’t know much more about it so just to say I put on Made In Mexico – Zodiac Zoo to listen to while drinking – a weird mix of noise to music I found through the original Guitar Hero of all things.