Origin: Wexford (Ireland)
Type: Single Malt Irish Whiskey
Ageing barrels: Ex-Bourbon First Fill, virgin, ex-Wine
Additional coloring: No
Owner: Waterford Distillery
Average price: € 78.00
Official website: waterfordwhisky.com
Waterford and their research on the terroir in whiskey is widely known, an experiment (or we could say by now a real policy) that starts from the cultivation of barley, different in origin for each bottling of the Single Farm Origin series.
These are whiskies made from barley grown on farms that are always different in terms of geographic location and quality of raw material, precisely to show the impact of the latter on the final product.
For some, this is little more than an effective marketing policy, with some questioning whether this concept, born for wine, is actually applicable to whiskey, for others, it represents the future of whiskey itself and its connection to the land.
Be that as it may, the differences between each bottling are undeniable, even if there is no way of understanding (as end-users) to what extent they are due to the influence of cultivation and how much to subsequent processing, and whether this can really be called terroir.
This is the second release of the whiskey produced from barley (Ouverture quality) grown on Ed Harpur’s farm in Bannow and harvested in 2015. Double distilled the following year and bottled in 2020, with maturation of slightly less than four years taking place in a mix of French (17%) and American (21%) virgin casks, ex-Bourbon casks (Jack Daniel’s, 36%) and ex-French Vin Doux Naturel (26%).
Bannow is an island well connected to the mainland at Wexford on the south coast of Ireland, so it plays on the influence of the ocean on the crops.
Waterford’s website doesn’t skimp on information for each individual bottling, starting with the terroir code (or téireoir in Gaelic, which is cooler) assigned to each one: you can find all the information on this bottle here.
Full gold with copper highlights in the glass.
Initially a little closed on the nose, it has an almost new make air, very floral and herbaceous with an impression of lavender and resin, massive presence of wood spices (especially nutmeg) accompanying vanilla, peach and honey. Sulphurous note, like boiled cauliflower.
Rather warm and spicy at the mouth, with a whiff of aniseed, it slides oily with fruity notes (green apple, pineapple, peach) and malt, drop of honey, lemon. Tip of salt. The sulphurous presence perceived on the nose returns, albeit just hinted at, with metallic declensions. On the length, pecans and freshly cut wood emerge.
The finish is moderately long and spicy, with saline and metallic touches on dried fruit, lemon and honey.
Young, perhaps too young, but already with something to say, with the barrels having a considerable influence on the taste. It’s difficult to say how much the type of barley and the territory in which it was grown made a difference, given all the subsequent steps: whether it is suggestive or not, there is a vague marine impression, but is it really substantial?