Start thinking too much about whisky, and you’ll inevitably get stuck in a tartan time warp, imaging roaring fires in distant Highland castles. Unless, that is, your tipple of choice is from one of the UK’s most forward thinking distilleries.

Enter stage left, The Lakes Distillery, a luxury label with a distinctive ethos. Based in Cumbria, the brand’s pioneering team believes whisky shouldn’t always stick to tradition; sometimes, it pays to try something different.

The Cockermouth-located distillery is at the forefront of the modern whisky movement, producing fine, sherry-matured single malts inspired by the rugged ridgelines and deep, clean waters of the Lake District National Park, with not a bagpipe in sight.

Respecting the traditions of scotch whisky’s rich heritage, but keen to emphasise that the future of the classic spirit is an ever-evolving opportunity to refine and revise the ancient craft, the distillery team takes a design-led approach to mash, malt and maturation, pushing back on the boundaries of what the liquid can be. Taking inspiration from cellarmasters in Cognac, rather than the dram producers of Mull, The Lakes Distillery proactively tinkers with the maturation of their malts to finetune complex and distinctive flavours.

It’s intricate stuff. Take, for example, the latest offering, No. 7 The Whiskymaker’s Reserve. Launching on 28 September, it’s one bottle in a series of seven limited-releases that aim to chart the process of flavour creation at the award-winning distillery.

This new release is the final iteration of six previous bottles, which all share the same raw ingredients and have been put through a well-honed distillation process, but are individually unique thanks to carefully considered tweaks during the ageing process. Those rich and bold flavours in the final bottle? That’s down to the time the liquid spends in Oloroso, PX and red wine casks.

The point of the project – which will cumulate in a final, permanent, signature, sherry-led whisky joining The Lakes Distillery’s range – is to highlight how a spirit can evolve through the whisky-making process, and how the team’s precise engineering can nurture and develop previously undiscovered flavours in a drink that’s hardly changed for centuries.

Unsurprisingly, innovation has paid off. The fourth iteration of the bottle, The Whiskymaker’s Reserve No.4, earned the accolade of being the “World’s Best Single Malt Whisky” at the 2022 World Whisky Awards. Three bottles on, it can only get better. You’re in for a treat when you try No.7, with its luxurious, creamy mouthfeel and touch of sweetness. Just ask the staff at Scarfes Bar, in London – they’re one of a number of city watering holes now serving the distillery’s creations.

Intrigued? Make tracks to the Whisky Exchange Whisky Show at Old Billingsgate in London (29 September to 1 October) to get your hands on a limited edition bottle (£85), or take a seat at Bacchanalia, Annabel’s or Scarfes Bar, for a taste of this new-age spirit. Alternatively, log on to and other specialist retailers.