Whisky Focus - Cotswolds Hearts & Crafts Pineau des Charentes Review

Cotswolds Hearts & Crafts Pineau des Charentes Review

7th July 2021
Review of the second release in the Cotswolds Hearts & Crafts series, this one has been fully matured in Pineau des Charentes French oak casks.

Cotswolds Hearts and Crafts Pineau des Charentes Cask Single Malt WhiskyCotswolds Distillery has just released the second expression in their Heart and Crafts series, this time it is a single malt whisky which has been fully matured in Pineau des Charentes oak casks.

Pineau des Charentes is a little-known regional specialty of the Charentes Maritime region of France, sitting north of Bordeaux and encompasses the Cognac-producing region. It is made from fresh grape juice, which is blended with Cognac and left to age in oak barrels for a number of years. The sweetness of the grape juice tempers the bite of the Cognac, which combined with dry nutty notes from European oak casks makes it a great aperitif.

Cotswolds Hearts and Crafts Pineau des Charentes Cask has been fully matured in the white grape Pineau casks and the French oak imparts a slightly more bitter and tannic note than the American oak used by the distillery for aging their whisky.

"I first started drinking Pineau on a trip to the beautiful Atlantic island of Isle de Ré, just off the cost of La Rochelle, in 1994 and I’ve always had a soft spot for it", says Daniel Szor, Cotswolds Distillery Founder "hence the excitement at the idea of aging our Cotswolds single malt spirit in these casks."

The whisky has been matured for its full term in the casks, and the techniques of rejuvenation and seasoning under pressure allows the distillery to get the best out of the wine and the wood. As the woodgrain is not tight, more tannins come into the spirit.

Inspired by the Arts and Crafts Movement this second expression in the series continues with a William Morris design, which is both classic and contemporary. This prolific and innovative designer was one of the leaders of the Arts and Crafts Movement, which was created in the late 19th century and stood for the importance of traditional craftsmanship, the same values upon which the beautiful rural distillery was built. William Morris spent much of his time in the summer in his Cotswolds home, Kelmscott Manor and the verdant green leaves featured on the label and luxury gift box are perfect for the lushness and vitality of spring and celebrate St George’s Day which is a highlight of spring festivities.

Bottled at 55.2% ABV, non-chill filtered and without any added colouring, the Cotswolds Hearts & Crafts Pineau de Charentes is a limited release of 1,600 bottles with a RRP of £74.95, it will be available to buy exclusively from Cotswolds Distillery website.

Cotswolds Hearts & Crafts Pineau de Charentes Review

William Morrison's Tasting Notes:

Nose: Delicious notes of raisin, sugared almonds and vanilla icing, some orange, plum and peach adds to the fruitiness all accompanied by some oak.

Taste: Raisin, zesty orange and almond infused with some lovely oak spice and pepper leads, closely followed by some fudge, a little peach and some late grapefruit and a little bitter dark chocolate and oak spice.

Finish: Longish, the fruit bows out quickly leaving some lingering pepper and slightly drying, bittering oak spice.

Comment: A fantastic lovely enticing nose and an enjoyable dram overall, a good balance of oak and fruit on the nose and mouth before the fruit is outdone by the French oak on the finish.

SMW Whisky Score 88/100

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