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Adnams 9YO whisky kicks off Explorer range

The company behind the English Whisky Festival, Exploring English Whisky, has released the first bottle of its inaugural series.

Exploring English Whisky
The debut whisky is a nine-year-old single malt finished in Sauternes wine casks, made in collaboration with Suffolk-based distillery Adnams

Named the Explorer Series, the collection will comprise of bottlings from distilleries around England.

The first release is a nine-year-old single malt finished in Sauternes wine casks, made in collaboration with Suffolk-based distillery Adnams

The whisky derives from an Adnams single malt recipe and has been matured for seven years in the distillery’s second-fill French oak casks. It was then finished for two years in French sweet Sauternes wine casks.

Exploring English Whisky founder Richard Foster said: “There are very few age-statement English whiskies on the market, so we are excited to be able to stamp nine years onto this bottle – in part to showcase the lengths that Adnams have gone to in maturing this whisky in such a great combination of casks – but also due to the surprise most people have when they find out how long Adnams has been making whisky for.

“Not only is English whisky ‘a thing’ – but it’s also now able to compete alongside Scotch in the traditional age brackets of eight, 12 and 15 years, albeit in far smaller quantities.”

‘Craft-minded practices’

Foster said Adnams’ sustainable and craft-minded practices where it uses locally sourced barley and long fermentations, for example, have given the liquid a profile that is less heavy on wood.

He continued: “Craft whisky distilleries like Adnams do more than just make whisky, and when this opportunity arose – I knew I had to jump on it.

“This whisky has a clear salinity that I believe comes from Adnams’ proximity to the North Sea – probably more so through the maturation, but every process takes place in Southwold so the coast is always within view of this whisky until it’s bottled.

“That’s why we put the coast on the label — a nod to mother nature’s power and impact on whisky through ageing in unique microclimates like the one Adnams finds itself in Southwold, on the Suffolk coast.”

The whisky is said to have notes of melted butter, fennel, stone fruits and grappa, with a layer of apricot jam and ‘sprinkling of baking spices’.

It comes in a bottle that’s design fuses the company’s identity with the distillery’s, marked by a black ‘x’, which is the symbol of the Explorer Series range.

“Creating our first label was a big moment for us,” added Foster.

Explorer Series: 9 Year old Adnams can be purchased for £70 (US$88) from online spirits retailer Whiskyside.

Only 700 bottles are available.

Exploring English Whisky was founded in 2020, first as an online tasting, then as a membership club spreading awareness for English whisky. It hosts the English Whisky Festival every November.

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