Battersea-based distilling company, The London Distillery Company, has been granted London’s first licence to produce single malt whisky in over a century and Thursday saw its initial British spirit flow from the still. The boutique distillery, which has been producing Dodd’s Gin since Spring 2013, is the first whisky distillery in London since Lea Valley in Stratford closed in the early 1900s.
The whisky will be distilled in a beautiful 650 litre copper pot still, ‘Matilda’, named after co-founder and CEO Darren Rook’s Scottish Grandmother. Once the plain British spirit, that will be produced during the second distillation, has been matured in casks for a minimum of three years and a day, it will legally become single malt whisky.*
Malt whisky is made using three ingredients: malted barley, water and yeast. In keeping with the distillery’s focus on sustainability and sourcing locally where possible, the barley is sourced from Warminster Maltings, Wiltshire, 100 miles from the distillery. The yeast is supplied by Surebrew in Surrey and the company is using historical London brewing strains.
Darren Rook comments: “It is not widely known that the capital has a great heritage of whisky production dating back to before Chaucer. Since meeting co-founder, Nick Taylor, it has taken just over three years of hard work from the early concept to get to where we are today. We are really excited to be part of a new chapter in the city’s distilling legacy.
“This is really only the start of the journey as we have some time until the whisky reaches its optimum. We’re aiming to create an historical style of single malt with a great depth of flavour and floral backbone. That said, thanks to our small size and the equipment, we are not limited to one style. One fermentation will fill one cask, so we are able to experiment and create bespoke whiskies.”
Annually the company has capacity to fill up to 100 casks. During the development stages Rook has been working with Master Whisky Distiller and Blender, John C McDougall, and whisky industry consultant and wood specialist, Dr. Jim Swan. The team will continue to work with them both at regular intervals over the coming years.
*UK and EU law requires that whisky should be at least three years and one day old