English distillery Ellers Farm is offering whisky fans the chance to follow its spirit's journey to becoming a fully fledged single malt through a limited-edition set of releases.
The Evolution Collection, created by the Yorkshire-based distillery in partnership with Theakston Brewery, will comprise five bottlings of Ellers Farm spirit. The first bottling will be of the distillery's new-make spirit (named the Bairn, a colloquial Northern English and Scots term for a child) followed by bottlings at six, 12, 18, and 24 months old.
Only 500 sets of the Evolution Collection will be available (at a recommended price of £500). The new make and six-month-old bottlings will be dispatched upon purchase of the collection, with the the 12-month-old spirit delivered in May 2024, the 18-month-old in November 2024, and the 24-month-old in May 2025.
Each purchaser of the collection will also receive an individually numbered bottle of Ellers Farm's First Release Single Malt Whisky, which is expected to be released in November 2025 and of which only 1,000 will be made available. They will also be able to enjoy an annual tour at the distillery.
Ellers Farm contracts Theakston Brewery to produce its wash (also known as distillers' beer) using Yorkshire-grown barley; the distillery describes the wash as being like a porter, a traditional British style of dark beer.
The purpose of the Evolution Collection is for the distillery to share samples of its spirit as it ages and to show whisky drinkers the process of maturation from new-make spirit to legal whisky. In Ellers Farm's case, this whisky will be aged for a minimum of three years in first-fill bourbon barrels.
Ellers Farm founder Chris Fraser said: “You could call us biased, but we’re all really excited at Ellers Farm by what we’ve tasted already as our special liquid ages. Our Evolution Collection has been created to give a small group of whisky lovers a chance to become part of history, and to be a part of our exciting whisky journey with us.”
Ellers Farm's master distiller is Jamie Baggott, who has been a practising distiller for more than 15 years including for Ballykeefe Distillery in Ireland. He said: “I’ve taken all my knowledge and experience and put it into creating our new whisky, designing a custom distillery with hand-built stills from Italy to make it. What excites me the most about what we’re doing today, compared to any that have come before, is that this is the perfect marriage of the very best production methods, with nearly 200 years of brewing experience by the Theakston family. There is no other English whisky like this, by heritage or by process.”
Simon Theakston, managing director at T&R Theakston, said: “In the brewing industry, it is said that expertise comes with years of practice, but perfection takes a little longer. After nearly 200 years of brewing in Masham, we think we know what it takes to brew the perfect distiller’s beer for our partners, Ellers Farm Distillery. We are at the dawn of a most exciting journey to create a Yorkshire whisky of unimpeachable provenance, authenticity, and character.”
The Ellers Farm Evolution Collection is available to pre-order at ellersfarmdistillery.com/evolution-collection.