IN a quiet, picturesque corner of the Cotswolds, a new English whisky distillery is preparing to launch.

The new Cotswolds Distillery, in Whichford Road, Stourton, near Shipston, will produce ultra-premium, small batch single malt whisky in addition to Cotswolds Dry Gin.

Founded by businessman Daniel Szor, who lives near Stourton with his wife Katia, its two Cotswold stone buildings are currently being renovated and equipped as the distillery, tasting rooms and offices.

To create the new business, Mr Szor has assembled a highly experienced team including renowned Scottish master distiller Harry Cockburn and wood and ageing consultant Jim Swan.

Until its flagship unpeated Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky is first released in 2017, the distillery will begin production this summer and sell its Cotswolds Dry Gin, made with local botanicals, as well as a blended malt whisky.

It will also produce a range of brandies and liqueurs made from local fruits and berries, as well as Cotswolds cream liqueur made with its own new make spirit and a fortified sherry.

"We are excited to be creating an adventurous new landmark for the region and for English whisky," said Mr Szor. "Behind our vision of establishing a distillery of worldwide renown, there is long-term investment and a considerable commitment of skills and resources.

"We intend all our products to be worthy ambassadors for the region and certainly aim to produce a

flagship single malt that is characteristic of the region's heritage, and every bit as good and intriguing as whisky neighbours to the north."

The businessman was first bitten by the whisky bug during his years living in Paris and he bought his first cask in 2002 at the newly reopened Bruichladdich distillery on Islay.

Watching Bruichladdich grow under the management of James McEwan inspired him to start his own operation.

Funding for the project comes from Mr Szor and his family along with the Cotswolds Distillery Founders Circle, which is offering interested investors an opportunity to take part in the project.

The first limited edition of 5,000 bottles of ‘single estate’ Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky will be

available for reservation and pre-sale at the end of March, as well as a limited number of casks which will be laid down for a minimum of five years.

The creation of a new English whisky distillery is very rare, due to the considerable investment and time required.

There are only about 24 commercial English craft distilleries, most of which distil gin and vodka.