I was lucky enough to take a tour of the Spirit of Yorkshire Distillery in Hunmanby on the Yorkshire Coast early in 2019. It was a great experience which I would highly recommend. The whisky at the time was less than 3 years old so could not be called a whisky, but I did still buy 3 bottles of the “Maturing Malt”.
Filey Bay is the first single malt whisky made in Yorkshire. It’s created by The Spirit of Yorkshire Distillery from field to bottle on the coast near Filey.
All the barley is grown in Hunmanby, on the owners family farm with the water coming from two sources, sunk deep into the chalk. The owners also own the wonderful Wold Top Brewery and barley was first grown and still is to make their beers.
The Spirit of Yorkshire Distillery control every stage of the distilling process, from choosing the variety of barley and how it is grown, right through to bottling at the distillery. Very few other distilleries in the UK can claim to have such an end to end process.
Interestingley, the distillery is mentored by renowned whisky expert Dr. Jim Swan. The owners set out to not just create a whisky that replicated Scotch, but to create an individual Yorkshire variant. Their approach was to take the best of tradition and apply new thinking to create something unique.
"From our very first distillations, we have always set out to create a defined house style and a light, fruity whisky. We have very firm production principles and a 100% field to bottle process. Quality underpins absolutely every aspect of our production from the barley we grow to the casks we source for maturation”.
Joe Clark, Whisky Director, Spirit of Yorkshire Distillery
The first release of Filey Bay sold out quickly, but a second release is now available. I love my whisky and this singe malt is a lovely smooth drink with a light and fruity taste for a single malt.
The tasting notes from the distillery for Filey Bay Single Malt read:
Light and fruity with flavours of citrus, vanilla ice cream, caramel, biscuit & honey.
70cl. 46% vol.
Natural colour & Non Chill Filtered.
They have now launched a Filey Bay Moscatel Finish Malt Whisky. Maturing the whisky first in bourbon casks, the whisky is then transferred to sherry barrels to give a sherry influenced finish. This gives the whisky a naturally sweet character with floral aromas of orange blossom, jasmine and honeysuckle.
The logo and packaging for Filey Bay single malt whisky includes a gannet. As the distillery is a short distance from the RSPB reserve of Bempton Cliffs where thousands of gannets nest on the chalk cliffs and gracefully dive into the sea to catch fish it seemed an obvious choice apparently.