An English single malt whisky has been recognized as the best in the world. Better than Scotland’s finest!

The Norfolk-based English Distillery became the first operational whisky distillery in more than 100 years. 

The whisky is made using barley grown locally and the entire distillation process of milling, mashing, and distilling with a pair of traditional and beautiful copper stills, and maturing in the finest oak casks takes place on-site.

Bottled by hand in Breckland, The English Sherry Cask is an unpeated single malt whisky, which has been matured from start to finish in the finest PX sherry casks to create a stunning expression that it said had been “well worth the wait”.

Andrew & Katy Nelstrop. Photo credit David Rose Telegraph
Andrew & Katy Nelstrop. Photo credit David Rose Telegraph

The distillery learned of its world-winning success in front of the whisky industry’s finest at Merchant Taylors’ Hall as awards organizer, Whisky Magazine, celebrated “the best people, places, and products in the whisky world”.

Founded by Lincolnshire farmer James Nelstrop to fulfill a lifelong dream, the distillery – guided by the experience of legendary Master Distiller Ian Henderson – began to lay down whiskies in its dunnage warehouses, with the sole aim of making world-class single malt whisky in England following a century’s absence of whisky making in the country.

Like all its whiskies, the winning whisky was made using barley grown locally and on the Nelstrop family farms. The entire distillation process of milling, mashing, distilling with a pair of traditional and beautiful copper stills, maturing in the finest oak casks, and hand bottling, all take place at the distillery. James’ son Andrew, has led the 20-strong team since his father died in 2014.

Andrew Nelstrop. Photo credit Anthony Kelly
Andrew Nelstrop. Photo credit Anthony Kelly

Andrew said: “We’re stunned. Whilst any whisky maker hopes to win an award, winning the big one is the realization of my father’s sole goal of creating world-class single malt whiskies in England, and sharing them with whisky lovers around the world.”

The father of two, whose wife Katy works alongside him as The English Distillery’s Marketing Director, added: “This is a super way to celebrate our 18th year of whisky distilling. It’s a testament to our distillers’ work and I know my father would have been hugely proud of this achievement, as are we.”

As the English Whisky category continues to grow with pace, this award is another milestone for whisky making in England, particularly when it’s judged against some of the finest single malt whiskies from around the world, including Scotland.

The winning whisky boasts aromas of rich dark fruits from the sherry-filled casks, which combine in a nose of raw honey and vanilla, leading to a burst of sweet toffee, cherries, and digestives on the palate. The result is a wonderfully balanced and rich whisky that is not outshone by the wood.

Bottled at 46% abv, non-chill filtered and natural in color, The English Sherry Cask is a no-age-statement whisky that is part of the distillery’s core range, which includes The English Original and The English Smokey (both RRP £47.50, 70cl bottle). House of Malt describes the winning whisky as a “delightful newcomer to The English Distillery’s core range with a luxuriously thick sherry character, brimming with flavors of crumbly biscuits, smooth vanilla caramel, simmered berries, and sun-dried figs”.

The English Distillery is England’s oldest registered whisky distillery. In 1901 the last recorded whisky distillery in England swapped from whisky to gin production before being destroyed by fire. This saw the end of whisky distilleries in England until The English Whisky Co. Ltd was granted a license to distill whisky by HMRC. Ir reopened in 2006.

No longer did good barley go all the way to Scotland to be made into premium whisky.

Available from  House of MaltEnglish Whisky, and through leading global retailers including Bottle ApostleThe Spirt Specialist, and The Whisky World.