Penderyn Madeira

Penderyn 3Featured at World Whisky Day 2014: Wales has a long history of distilled beverages, but Penderyn is the country’s only current distillery. Founded in 2004, the distillery lays nestled in the Breacon Beacons and produces the world’s only Welsh single malt. One of the world’s smallest distilleries, Penderyn’s signature single malt, the Madeira won gold medals at the 2012 and 2013 International Whisky Competition. Can this new whisky on the block live up to the legends imbued in the history of the landscape?

Distillery: Penderyn
Region: Wales
Age: NAS
Strength:  46%
Price: $74.99
Location: Penderyn
Maturation: Bourbon and Madeira casks
Nose: Honey, raisin, banana candy
Palate: Toffee, sweet, herbal, light fruit
Finish: Madeira, acerbic

CommentsWater brings out the sweetness from the Madeira casks. Some very positive reactions from attendants at our tasting.

Adam – I’ve had mixed reactions to this whiskey. The first time I tried it, I fell in love. The next time, I couldn’t stand it. It has a lot of qualities in it and I think what surprises is that it’s a lot sweeter than I expect it to be, the Madeira from the casks really making its presence felt. However, it also has a bile quality to it that can hit you rather prominently if you’re not expecting it. I’m a little sad that only the Madeira cask finish is currently available in my area, as I’d like to see what else this distillery can offer. Shaving a few dollars off the price tag might be nice too. A fascinating entry that is very distinct, to say the least. I wonder if food would help cut the butyric elements any. Worth a try, but drink at your own risk.

Kate – To sum up this whiskey, mixed reactions. The nose isn’t awful and contains notes of creamed toffee and raisins. If you add water, the nose takes on a saltier quality. The taste is where I ran into trouble. I remember making this weird face trying to name what I was tasting. You can  taste a bit of heather and with water it takes on an oakier flavour but the main flavour was aptly described by Henry. I wouldn’t say it has a long finish just a long weird aftertaste. Other people seemed to like it and it is definitely worth experiencing once. Again, we don’t all agree on everything but my palate and I are in agreement on this whiskey: no thank you!

Meghan – This is a whiskey where you can really taste the casks. The bourbon cask comes out in the palate, the Madeira in the finish. In a way, it is like drinking a bourbon/Madeira cocktail. This is not necessarily a good thing. Most whiskies benefit from conscientious tasting but not the Penderyn. When you pull it apart layer by layer you are drawn to its flaws, weird flavor combinations, and very strange acerbic quality reminiscent of cleaning the litter box.  But when you drink a large mouthful and simply drink it, you can enjoy its sweetness. Water brings out this sweet aspect even more, to the point where the nose develops a bubble gum aspect. It has potential- it might be a good “eating whiskey”- but it leaves me feeling too quizzical to explore much further at its price point. There is a probably a reason there aren’t many Welsh whiskies.

Henry – Let me not mince words. It smells and tastes like cat piss. This unfortunate dram is the purest example of what the “fauna” in “flora and fauna” is all about.