The English Whisky Company - England's oldest whisky distillery - is purpose built. Benefitting from its location in one of the world’s finest barley growing regions and above the Breckland Aquifer, it boasts a plentiful crystal clear water supply.
Built in fields alongside the River Thet, the Distillery was founded by the Nelstrop family – an innovative line of farmers with a tradition of growing and processing grain that can be traced over the past 600 years.
On turning 60, founder James Nelstrop decided rather than retire, he’d do something different that retained a tie to farming. With the support of his son Andrew, they decided to investigate his passion for whisky production, which had stopped in England over 100 years before.
Armed with the best of ingredients, several concepts were considered, before the Distillery took shape and production of their range of superb single malts began.
Today they are not only the oldest and most awarded English distillery, they also mature all their own casks and bottle their whiskies on site, therefore controlling the whole process, enabling them to ensure the highest quality in all their products.
The English Whisky Company control the whole process on site enabling them to ensure the highest quality in all their products
- In 2006, The English Whisky Company became England’s first registered whisky distillery for over a century
- Before work started on building the distillery a great deal of research was done in Scotland, Ireland and Wales
- Iain Henderson - a distiller of note from Laphroaig - was talked into helping get the distillery going instead of retiring
- When Iain did finally retire, he spent 16 weeks training David Fitt, previously a brewer from Greene King, to take over
- David has been ensuring maturation and bottling run smoothly as well as overseeing all production since 2008
- In 2007 The English Whisky Company opened to the public with a visitor centre, fantastic whisky shop and tours
- The English Whisky Company mature all their own casks and bottle their whiskies on site, enabling them to ensure the highest quality in all their products.
- The distillery releases its drinks under two brands. ‘The English’ which is their range of single malt whiskies and ‘The Norfolk’ which consists of grain whiskies and liqueurs
Cask World’s Highlights
I was excited to visit The English Whisky Company - officially opened by HRH Prince Charles - they have great history and have been distilling premium single malt whisky since 2006. Beautifully positioned on the river Thet in Norfolk they’re the only distillery in England currently producing an 11 year old whisky. I was immediately struck by the lovely ‘English farm’ country feel - unlike the far-flung global distilleries I’m usually visiting, this one was just up the road and immediately felt like home.
I really liked the team too. Mike - bursting with energy and passion showed us all corners of the distillery explaining their processes. Their visitor centre is a world class experience too - the welcome hall alone is filled with hundreds of bottles for sale. We also visited their cask storage- well secured extensive warehouses I'm comfortable to leave my casks resting in. Mike’s positivity extended to the world whisky scene and what we’re doing at Cask World. He expressed concerns over the protection of who sells casked whisky, and recognised Cask World focuses a spotlight on premium single malt distilleries outside of Scotland - I felt our philosophies aligned.
I also chatted to owner, Andrew who talked modestly of his family’s history, challenges and success (they now have won a number of awards). Quality was clearly his main priority, making use of the premium local ingredients. With this in mind their premium single malt whisky has to be one of the best value for money on the planet. I was inspired by his confidence in the future and believe they will remain one of England's leading producers.
The English Whisky Company at a glance
The English Whisky Company
James & Andrew Nelstrop
Norfolk, England, UK
James Nelstrop – Founder
Andrew Nelstrop - Owner
David Fitt – Head Distiller
Mike Fisher - Sales Director
The English Whisky Company boasts the facilities to keep the entire process on site, from growing and harvesting their own grains, maturation, and even bottling.
Primary Whisky Types
The finest award winning English single malt and small batch whiskies
Majority ex-bourbon casks
All storage is on site at their HMRC excise warehouse, Cadus Vaults
Av. Length of Maturation
Up to 5%
Current Bottle Prices
£42.50 - £85 (plus)
Whisky Magazine Icons of Whisky Awards 2021 - Sustainable Distillery of the Year - Rest of the World, Highly commended & Master Distiller/Master Blender of the Year - Rest of the World - David Fitt
Wizards of Whisky Awards 2021 - Gold Winner & Whisky of the Year - The English 11 Year Old
The Whisky Bible Awards 2021 - Best English Malt Whisky - The English 11 Year Old
Whisky Magazine - Icons of Whisky Awards 2020 - Distillery Manager of the Year - Rest of the World - David Fitt
Wizards of Whisky Awards 2020 - Gold Medals - English Original & English Smokey, Small Batch Virgin Oak & Small Batch Smokey Oak
World Whiskies Awards 2020 - Bronze Medal - English Smokey
Jim Murrays Whisky Bible - Liquid Gold Award 2020 (94 points) - English Smokey
World Whiskies Awards 2020 - Best English Single Malt & Best Single Malt NAS (Category Winner) - Small Batch Smokey Virgin, Best Single Malt 12yr and under (Category Winner) - Small Batch Triple Distilled
Jim Murrays Whisky Bible 2020 - Liquid Gold 96 points - Small Batch Triple Distilled & Liquid Gold 95 points - Small Batch Virgin Oak & Small Batch Smokey Oak
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