English Whisky Reviews

Spirit of Yorkshire Filey Bay Flagship

One of England’s most exciting Distilleries The Spirit of Yorkshire has released a core expression Whisky – Filey Bay Flagship.

This is a big step for the distillery and shows their confidence in the future, and ability to produce a good amount of casks to develop their ‘House Style’ Whisky, and future core expressions,

The English Whisky Industry output is small in comparison to our Scottish neighbours, but Spirit of Yorkshire have some of the largest stills in the UK outside of Scotland, so as interest grows for English Whisky (and indeed Yorkshire Whisky) Spirit Of Yorkshire will have a capacity to meet the growing demand. This is something that many of the successful smaller craft distilleries could have trouble with.

When discussing the Flagship Whisky on English Whiskies YouTube Channel, Distillery Co Founder David Thompson said:

‘For us our journey is to produce five or six core expressions that will always be with us and Flagship is the first of those.

It is the same Cask make up as our first and second releases, and we wanted to strip it bare, not over use the cask to hide youth, we wanted to make the Spirit stand on its own two feet. We wanted it to be something that wouldn’t just appeal to the enthusiast, but could be enjoyed by everyone. The Cask make up we have is around 65-70% Bourbon and then we do other things with it in terms of the Finishes. We are very pleased with it, and its ticked a big box for us’

Flagship is designed to be a snapshot of the Distillery and show it’s DNA and house style which will become the palette from which other expressions and releases are created.

The late and great Dr Jim Swan mentored the Distillery team in the early stages, and certainly inspired David in developing the Spirit of Yorkshire House Style that makes up this Flagship release.

Reflecting on Dr Jim Swan, David Thompson explains

‘Incredible to work with him, certainly in the first two years we got as much information and knowledge out of him as possible. We were really getting going in terms of distillation, and we lost him. But his life goes on, it goes on in these Stills it goes on in the Whisky we’re making and everyone else’s that has been influenced by him’

Now Filey Bay Flagship becomes the latest release that has certainly been inspired by Dr Jim Swan and his dedication to excellent quality and fruity New Make Spirit.

So how is it?

In the glass this Whisky has a nice light golden colour and produces a lovely light oily/silky swirl as you agitate it.

On the None

Light, fresh and fruity with that Bourbon influence of wood and vanilla apparent but not overbearing. There is a really nice creamy background to it all, and hints of mint toffee. A very enticing nose.


The initial warmth is just right for my palate and no need for water. Judging by that silky swirl I mentioned earlier, I was expecting an oily mouthfeel, but it was pleasantly delicate. More of the Wood comes through here, and a little Spice and Vanilla from the Bourbon Casks, but the Light Fruity nature found on the nose still carries this Whisky. Very well balanced and in perfect harmony.


The finish is one of my favourite things about this Whisky, and it’s most dangerous attribute! It isn’t super long, but it’s incredibly moreish. The fruity and sweet character slips gently away, and the gentle spice and woody nutty flavours remain and your palate instantly sends a message to your brain – What are you waiting for? get stuck back in!


Spirit of Yorkshire hats off to you. If you set out to create a Whisky full of flavour and character that demonstrates your skill and distillery character almost like a well designed business card, then you nailed it!

You clearly took on board all the advice and expertise given to you by Dr Jim Swan, and if this quality and consistency continues in Flagship, then I can see it becoming a must have fixture of any ‘Introduction to English Whisky’ type tastings, and a go to anytime sipper for many Whisky fans.

Just like the ‘Original’ for The English Whisky Co, I think Flagship will make a great calling card for Spirit of Yorkshire, and could very well be sitting alongside some major Whisky names on shelves around the world.

By Richard Chambers @englishwhiskies.