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Free Next Day UK Delivery for orders over £30

The Forest Whisky Journey

Locally sourced Barley from the Cheshire Plains

The Malt Floor

Distillation at the Cat & Fiddle

Sleeping Whisky

The Forest Whisky Journey

Back in 2013, husband & wife team Karl & Lindsay Bond began distilling from their home, predominantly using ingredients from the local area, including botanicals gathered from Macclesfield Forest and barley grown by local farmers. The initial products – namely Forest Gin, have gained a cult following and are recognised around the world as ultra-premium spirits.

Now, in 2021, they operate across two sites in Macclesfield Forest. Chambers Farm is where they continue to prodcue gin and other spirits, whilst the Cat & Fiddle now operates as the UK’s highest altitude whisky distillery at 16,89ft above sea level.

Built in 1813, The Cat & Fiddle was a remote coaching Inn, and over the years has become a destination in it’s own right, with views stretching across the Peak District, 7 counties, and on a clear day, there is even a distant sea view! As an Inn, it sadly closed in 2015, however there are several reasons why it suited Forest as home to their whisky distillery:

*Space. The building is a large, stone built building and provides much needed space to distil whisky

*Cellars. There is a network of cool, damp cellars below the building, which give ideal stable conditions for slow maturation of spirit.

*Water. The spring water here is filtered through layers of peat. Terrible for a pub but amazing for single malt English Whisky.

The stills here are very small at 500liters, so the production is tiny. Every drop is distilled by Lindsay Bond. However, the use of local barley, wild yeast strains and English Oak casks makes for a unique and intreaging spirit from above the clouds.

On site, they have regular distillery tours, tastings and events. All of which must be pre-booked.

Making Malt

The Three Stage Process:
Stage One – Steeping
A batch of barley is selected and hydrated using up to three immersions in fresh water.
We adjust the temperatures and the timing of wet and dry stages depending on the type and maturity of the barley and the final specification of malt we want.
Stage Two – Germination
The sprouting barley is moved to a malting floor or vessel and allowed to grow for four to five days. The moisture and temperatures are controlled to a recipe we have tailored for the type of malt. This process naturally modifies the barley structure breaking down cell walls and protein, releasing starch and producing enzymes. During germination the ‘green malt’ must be turned to stop the rootlets matting.
Stage Three – Kilning
Germination is stopped by gently drying on a kiln for up to three days. We use a stepped programme of temperatures and varying airflows to protect the enzymes within the grain and create the colour and flavour we are looking for. The rootlets are removed and the final malt is back to looking a little like barley but inside it now has all the extract, enzymes and nutrients essential to making great beer and whisky.

Malt Rake

Distillation at the Cat & Fiddle

Whisky Still1

The Distillation Process

Our Malt Grist is mixed with water in our Traditional Mash Tun, the starch in the malt is broken down and creates a liquid called wort. The wort is then transferred into a large vessel called a washback where yeast is added.

The yeast causes fermentation of the wort creating alcohol. This is known as wash. The wash is distilled twice, first in the Wash Still and then in the Spirit Still. These act like large kettles heating the liquid, the alcohol vapors rise and pass over the wash still before passing through condensers and returning to liquid. The resulting spirit, known as low wines, is then returned to Spirit Still where distillation is repeated.

The Casks

Poured into Oak casks then left to mature for at least three years, although many Whiskies are matured for much longer. Whilst in the cask our freshly distilled barley rich New Make needs time to mellow out.  Here compounds found in the wood add flavours like vanilla, marzipan and buttery coconut.  The bright notes of the young spirit will mature into richer baked fruit notes creating a more complex drink.

Tannins found in the wood also play a part in the maturing process – creating “wood spice” notes building a delicate mouthfeel to the spirit.

Left to mature for at least three years, although many Whiskies are matured for much longer. Whilst in the cask the spirit matures and develops in flavour and acquires its renown gold colour.

Bottling

The final stage in the award winning Forest Whisky journey is from Barrel to Bottle. After our whisky has had a well deserved sleep it is now ready to be decanted(?) into our unique black porcelain bottle designed especially for Forest Distillery by Wade Ceramics in Stoke on Trent. It is now ready to be dispatched to customers around the world.

Our blended whisky has been chosen as the Best World Whisky by Independent Indy100 and recently been awarded with World Whisky Masters Gold Award 2021

For the Whisky Aficionados

Name: The Forest Distillery.

Location: The Cat & Fiddle, Macclesfield Forest, SK11 0AR

Date Established: 01/01/2015

Annual Capacity (L): 5000

Water Source: On-site natural spring (peaty).

Malt Specification: Cheshire Spring Barley (Propino)

Malt Source: Cheshire. Farmed by Edd & Laura

Yeast Type: Mix of Wild Forest Yeast & SAF M1

Grist Weight (T): 525kg

Mash Tun Type: Traditional

Wort Clarity: Light Cloud

Washbacks (Quantity): 1

Washback Size (L): 2200

Washback Type: Stainless Steel

Fermentation Time (HRS) 72

Wash Stills: 1

Wash Stills Charge (L): 500

Spirit Stills (Quantity): 1

Spirit Still Charge (L): 500

Condenser Type: Copper Filed Glass

New Make Strength: 65 – 70%

Filling Strength: 52 – 65%

Warehousing: Cellar Matured