Isle of Wight celebrates first official whisky

Dec 19, 2018by Melita Kiely

The Isle of Wight Distillery’s first whisky – and the first for the island – has officially come of age after maturing in casks for three years.

Using a recipe created by Xavier Baker, the single malt was first laid to rest on 16 December 2015 and has been matured in a combination of Bourbon and charred white wine casks. The wash used to create the whisky was brewed at Goddards Brewery – a 9.2% abv unhopped beer whisky wash made with local barley. A release date for the Isle of Wight Whisky has not yet been confirmed. Baker, distiller and co-founder of the Isle of Wight Distillery, said: “Our point of difference is we are approaching our whisky from a brewer’s perspective. “Typically, whisky distillers will allow the natural exothermic reaction of yeast, fermenting sugars giving off temperatures of up to 40oC. “Yeast will start to die at 24oC giving off undesirable flavours that will carry across to the new-make spirit, requiring five years-plus of maturation in oak to let those undesirable flavours mellow out and dissipate. “Our whisky wash has been fermented as an ale between 22-24oC for a longer, slower, controlled fermentation. This maintains happy yeast and gives a smoother, fuller flavour to the whisky. “We are excited and honoured to be the first to create a legal whisky on the Isle of Wight. The process has required a lot of effort and patience over the last few years and we’re delighted that it’s now coming to fruition.”