Thursday 10 March 2022

White Peak Distillery Tour Review (Ad | Visit Derby)

Our Visit Derby review trip in February took us a little out of the city centre on the Saturday afternoon, but not far. 20 minutes drive North of Derby on the A6 (just past Ambergate), is the old wire works site nestling on the river Derwent. This is now the White Peak Distillery, and we joined them for a Distillery Tour and Gin Tasting... 

White Peak Distillery Tour Review Ad Visit Derby

Originally an iron forge until 1876, the wire works became a major local employer, manufacturing heavy duty cabling and wire right up until the mid 1990's. The White Peak Distillery have now taken some of the buildings on, and it is the ideal spot to create some very interesting spirits. 

White Peak Distillery alcohol selection on a shelving unit rum gin whisky

I've been to breweries before, but never a distillery, and this is a very young one, so the first thing I noticed was how spotlessly clean it all was! A mere 2 days before we arrived, the very first batch of 3 year aged Wire Works single malt Whisky had gone on sale and immediately sold out, so there was a real buzz of excitement, and well-placed pride. 

Inside the cavernous White Peak Distillery at the old wire works. Giant hoppers and vats for storage, lots of steel and copper

The distillery was fascinating. Everything is on such a huge scale! It was so much quieter and calmer than the breweries I've visited, although the fact they have such an immense building to house everything probably helps a lot. 

The process is as 'green' as it can be, and hardly anything is thrown away. There is great care taken over use of materials, and where they end up afterwards. Local farmers benefit from the used malt as cattle feed. 

White Peak Distillery Tour collage of 4 photos showing giant hoppers for fermenting malt in various stages of use

The tour covers all stages of Whisky making, and you also see where they make a varied selection of gins and rums - which are ready much more quickly and kept the distillery ticking over while the Whisky matured. 

White Peak distillery whisky barrels in storage

I had no idea the shape of the copper still was so important to the end taste, but it is, and White Peak waited 18 months for delivery of their two specially shaped and built stills to be delivered. They are massive. 

Man standin beside White Peak Distillery copper still for whisky making

It may be 2022, but this is traditional distilling, and the equipment really hasn't changed much in the last 150 years or so. The brass cabinet for sampling and checking the produce is lockable, so that employees don't try and sneak any. Perhaps not such a problem nowadays as it would have been in Queen Victoria's day. 

White Peak Distillery tasting sampling lockable cabinet

Gins are also made in a still, and at White Peak the different botanicals which create the flavour are added in the neck of the still. These are also huge, yet almost don't seem it in comparison to the whisky stills. 

White Peak distillery Gin stills

Absolutely fascinating, full of interesting sights, smells and historical facts, the tour is quick and clear, and you really do get a great idea of what goes into the manufacture of the spirits - including a lot of patience and cleaning!

white peak distillery tour spirit glass in my hand

No distillery tour would be complete without a tasting, and for this you retire to a comfy kitchen style lounge with a roaring real fire... and are given your own souvenir glass, which is beautiful, and a great memento that you can take home with you at the end. 

White Peak distillery gins on a tray ready for tasting

We tasted a couple of the gins and a rum. I wanted to buy a bottle of each to let my partner try them too, it really would have been very easy to relax into 2 or 3 hours of sitting around chatting... We didn't try the Bakewell Pud Gin, but I fully intend to have a bottle for my birthday later in the year. I adore a good Bakewell Tart, and a small drop of gin, and I honestly can't think of anything that sounds nicer to warm an evening... 

Special mention for the Wire Works Whisky packaging. White Peak wanted to create a 'box' that needed no bubble wrap or plastic padding, but would protect the bottles when they were posted, and it's genius. It's also beautiful, and I'm certain delights everyone who receives it... 

Wire Works White Peak Distillery Whisky first batch very clever cardboard plastic-free packaging

The White Peak Distillery tours run on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and they are well worth the trip. Book in advance, and get someone else to drive if you can, so that you can properly enjoy the gin tasting. 

My trip was arranged by Visit Derby and Culture Derby - as part of the bid for Derby to be named a very worthy 'City Of Culture 2025'. You can find lots of photos on my Visit Derby Instagram highlights and grid posts, and see what else we got up to by looking at my other 'Visit Derby' posts

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