The only whisky available from Wales just now comes from Penderyn. So if you are trying to collect a whisky from every whisky in a country Wales is definitely the one to pick to complete a collection in a reasonable timeframe.
Luckily Penderyn has such a prolific range of products that they can carry the entire country on their own. My first taste of the Wales whisky is a Madeira Finish which I got from the work Secret Santa who while being secret was not very imaginative.
Independently owned since it was born in 2004 the Penderyn distillery is just outside the village of the same name. Located in the picturesque Brecon Beacons the location was picked for its water source. Like the Taiwanese whisky Kavalan this distillery is another one designed and run by Dr Jim Swan who sadly died last year.
Making Vodka, Gin as well as whisky the distillery has a solid foundation to keep cash flow in its early years when many distilleries can struggle to survive. In addition, Penderyn is one of the few distilleries which still sell new-make to private individuals. For more information on that product check out their website http://penderyn.wales/cask-sales/
Penderyn have a policy of natural colour, non-chill filtration and a bottling strength of at least 46% ABV. These are all good things to note and the label marketing makes a big show of this. The Madeira cask finishing period comes after a longer spell in ex-Bourbon barrels but exactly how long the whisky has been maturing for I don’t know.
A bottle of this is still widely available as a core offering for around £50 in the UK. Although this particular bottle is not available in any supermarkets the cheaper all ex-bourbon bottle is available in Sainsbury’s for around £35.
Colour – light straw
Nose – Rhubarb and custard sweets give a tart and sweet nose with fizzy jesty orange rinds prolonging the sweet and sour profile. There is an additional layer though of herbs and esters with mint especially obvious.
Palate – Raisins, toffee and malted bread are the more expected flavours you get from the whisky on the palate over the more unusual nose. The yeasty notes are very prominent suggesting a lot of spirit flavour still being in the glass.
Finish – The finish is about medium length with barley sugar as a subtle note against very strong notes of lemons and chilli to give heat and fire.
An interesting whisky especially with the fruity nose which reminded me of sweets from old-fashioned sweetie shops where you measure out a portion from large jars on the shelf. This whisky was from a sample gift set and while I enjoyed it one sample was once and I didn’t feel I needed to rush out and buy a whole bottle.