The English man who wants to take on Scotland at its own game

Evan Bartlett@ev_bartlett
Monday 09 March 2015 11:30
(pic credit: Jonathan Ford)

An English chef has set up camp on the northern border and wants to take on the Scots at their own game: by making whisky.

Valentine Warner, known for his What to Eat Now BBC series, says regulations in Scotland mean distilleries are restricted in terms of what they can make - something he hopes he can exploit from his Northumbria base.

"In a way, not being in Scotland gives room to do exciting things," Warner told the Times (£). According to regulations, whisky-makers in Scotland must distil their brew in oak barrels for at least three years.

But taking inspiration from Border Reivers - Scottish cattle raiders who made extra cash from bootleg whisky in the Northumbria area in the 13th-17th centuries - Warner and his colleagues hope to cash in.

If we want to sell a very, very young whisky, or if we want to mature in another wood, then we can do these things. The interesting thing is that because we do not have to comply with Scotch whisky regulations, we will be able to play around.

  • Valentine Warner

Warner, who already produces gin from local junipers, will use locally-sourced barley and will be hoping to add to an exciting English whisky scene.

The English Whisky Company was awarded the Best Whisky in Europe award in November - beating more than 1,000 competitors in a blind tasting test.

“There will be lots of experimentation going on. It’s very nice to play around. And remember, fermenting grain to make alcohol is not exclusively Scottish," Warner added.

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