I haven’t had many Cotswolds for now, just two in fact if I trust my memory (okay, my memory is called Google Whisky Sheet). And of those two, just one of them, bottled by That Boutique-y Whisky Company, was reviewed on those pages a couple of years ago. The other one, on the other hand, was before More Drams even existed, and before I had the habit of taking tasting notes. I do remember I found it quite okay. Hope that helps. (Probably not. Especially if I don’t mention it was the “classic” Single Malt, bottled in 2018, but no idea which batch). Anyway, I guess it’s a good time to have another one from this distillery located not very far from Birmingham. So without further ado, let’s try a Cotswolds Founder’s Choice.
Cotswolds Founder’s Choice Review
Though I don’t know exactly which batch it was, I can suspect it was batch 04/2019 bottled in 2019. Why, you ask? Well, I got this sample from a tasting pack for The English Whisky Society Virtual Festival 2020, which occurred in October… 2020, well done, you guessed it right first try. So it has to be bottled in 2020 or before. But I can’t find batches of Founder’s Choice bottled in 2020 with that exact ABV (60.5%) in 2020 on Whiskybase. However, there’s a batch 04/2019 of Founder’s Choice, bottled at 60.5% ABV, so let’s say it was probably this one. Yes, I know, I should change careers and become a private detective instead of a lousy whisky reviewer. For I don’t remember what reason, I couldn’t attend when the virtual tasting occurred, and I’ve just found the samples back in one of the samples boxes recently.
Anyway. So, I was saying, I think it’s Cotswolds Founder’s Choice batch 04/2019, matured for about 3 years in STR (Shaved, Toasted and Recharged) American oak red wine casks, before giving 2500 bottles at the cask strength of 60.5% abv, without chill filtration nor addition of colouring. You can easily find this in German shops for about €54, this exact batch (if I trust the photo) on Master of Malt for about £66 (seriously more expensive than Germany) or in France for about 80€ at La Maison Du Whisky for instance.
Neat: Smells a bit young, with raw alcohol and metallic notes of copper coins. After letting it breathe a moment, red fruits and a distant winey note. Spices and a bit of vanilla. A bit herbal and floral too, with parsley and lilac. A touch of wood, then some new leather.
With water: honey, sour cherries, ginger biscuits and a very slight sulphur note.
Neat: Slightly sour arrival, hot, with a thick mouthfeel, it coats the palate immediately. The wood is more noticeable here, with bitter tannins. Dark cherries and chocolate, red berries, and a citrus note as well, maybe grapefruit. Pepper and ginger.
With water: it feels “warmer”. More citrus, with blood oranges now, cereals, and a few beans of coffee. Honey.
Chocolate, citrus, wood spices, prickly on the tongue, good length.
It’s young but it’s nice. It’s lively, it’s quite tasty, and it’s well made. Neat, it’s a bit hot, as you’d expect with this abv. With water, it’s easier to drink, it unlocks some additional flavours, and it’s quite nice. A bit too much of the sour cherries and oak maybe.