Cotswolds Distillery

Cotswolds Whisky, something to think about…


I wasn’t actually aware there was a distillery in the Cotswolds until my wife pointed it out during a recent trip away. As we were going to be passing anyway we decided to drop in and check it out…

Situated in the rolling countryside of Stourton the Cotswolds Distillery is in a simply stunning location that’s as tranquil as it is beautiful. They use locally grown organic barley which they then have traditionally floor malted at “Malt Stars” of Warminster who are the oldest floor malters in the UK. They also have pure Cotswolds water pumped directly into the distillery. Using these local ingredients they plan on producing an un-peated whisky that’s matured mostly in first fill bourbon and sherry casks. The distillery itself is the brainchild of Daniel Szor who decided after a long career in finance, and an almost as long love of whisky, to move into the industry and start his own distillery. Their goal is to produce a world-class small batch whisky, and with that in mind they have gone about putting together a team of people to do just that. During my visit I met Gemma (front of house), Rachel, (head of PR/Marketing), and Nick (distillery operations manager). I couldn’t help but be impressed with their passion and drive for the distillery, the part it plays in the local community, and the spirit they want to produce. Just to add to the mix they initially enlisted the help of Jim Swan to help them perfect their base spirit. Jim has a long history in the whisky industry and has helped many distilleries (such as Kilchoman) to craft and tailor their base spirit. They are also traditionalists and plan on using century old techniques and handmade Forsyths whisky stills which were crafted to their own specifications. They have a 500kg mash tun, 2,500 litre wash still, 1,600 litre spirit still, and four 2,500 litre fermenters that will allow them to produce over 100,000 bottles of Cotswold Single Malt Whisky annually. Additional to that they have a tailor-made hybrid Holstein still which produces Gin. This will allow them to operate as a business while their whisky matures, something quite a few new distilleries do these days.

Cotswolds Distillery

Once I’d been shown around by Nick we headed into their small warehouse and I was talked through the whiskies they will be producing. I also had a chance to taste their new spirit, as well as some older spirit (if you can call it old at 1 to 3 months) that had been aged in sherry, bourbon, and red wine casks. Having nosed and tasted the spirit I was immediately impressed by the quality they have produced thus far. It already has a maturity, colour, and complexity way beyond something that’s only a few months old. Their new spirit was light and malty, their bourbon cask was sweet, buttery, honeyed, and floral, while the red wine and sherry cask spirits were deep, rich, and full of dark fruits and spices. I would actually have bought a bottle of their red wine cask there and then if I could have! There is a real excitement at the distillery, and as much as they are trying to be innovative and have fun with their spirit it’s obvious they’re serious about producing a quality, craft, and unique whisky. They say they don’t have an exit strategy, and judging by the quality I have sampled thus far they won’t be needing one anytime soon! The proof will be in the pudding when their first whisky matures in 2017, but I already have a feeling they will be valuable addition to the whisky industry in the coming years.

For more details on the Cotswolds Distillery, and to find out more about their entire team, visit their website at


Article by David McNeill