Nick Cooper visits Dartmoor Whisky to sniff, slurp and swig Devon whiskies at the county’s first single‑malt distillery
What is it?
The opportunity to immerse yourself in a whisky tasting experience at a distillery, without having to travel all the way to Scotland.
Housed in Bovey Tracey’s old town hall, Dartmoor Whisky Distillery was Devon’s first single‑malt whisky distillery. It’s an atmospheric spot for a tutored tasting with owner Greg Millar, where visitors get to sniff, sip and slurp their way through a variety of Greg’s whiskies in the presence of the hand‑beaten copper still from which they dripped.
The dark arts of whisky distilling are swathed in myth and mystery, so this is an opportunity to see the process first‑hand and to winkle out the facts from the fiction. Tasting different honey‑hued spirits side by side provides a helpful understanding of how ageing techniques affect the end product. Greg guides his guests through the intricacies of three whisky expressions: those aged in American oak bourbon, French oak Bordeaux and Spanish sherry barrels, and even dispenses a shot of his Dartmoor Gin for good measure.
Whether you know your mash bill from your sherry bomb or are a complete novice when it comes to swirling a dram in a tumbler in front of an open fire, you’ll fi nd plenty to enjoy.
The fact that Dartmoor’s climate and soil are similar to Scotland’s famed Speyside region gave Greg the confidence to set up the distillery on the moor. His entertaining presentation reveals the relevance of this terroir, the alchemy of local barley and Dartmoor water, and the significance of the shape of his French ex‑cognac still.
The tasting experience is £15 per person and available on Saturdays. Booking is essential. Gift vouchers also available.
Recommend to a friend?
Certainly – or, better still, a group of friends. The distillery can hold a maximum of 40 people per session, so it’s a tempting idea for a group get‑together or even a Christmas do. Just make sure you’re not down to drive the minibus.
Food Magazine received payment for undertaking this review. However, the content was written with editorial independence.