Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Revival of Welsh Whisky

The Penderyn Still
One of the few remaining independent distilleries, Penderyn revives a 250 year old whisky distilling heritage in Wales that had long been forgotten. The first Welsh distillery in over a century, Penderyn is located in a small, rural village at the foothills of the ancient Brecon Beacons mountain range, surrounded by the famed Fforest Fawr National Park. It is here that Penderyn combines high quality raw materials, naturally sourced mountain water, a distinctive copper pot still and specially crafted casks to create some of the finest malt whiskies on the market today. However, due to the size of the facility, only one cask of malted barley spirit can be produced each day, resulting in limited worldwide distribution.

The first stage of production begins with a high quality malted barley wash, which is supplied by expert Welsh brewers S. A. Brain & Co. in Cardiff. This barley is then distilled in the unique still at Penderyn, which was designed by Dr. David Faraday and consists of a single copper pot beneath a tall rectifying multi-plate column. While most Scottish and Irish distilleries would use a conventional two or three pot still system, the technology developed at Penderyn allowes an extremely clean and flavorful spirit to be produced from a single still. The distillation process is closely supervised by Gillian Macdonald, Penderyn's distiller, who routinely checks the distillate to ensure quality. The distilled spirit is then combined with Penderyn's own pure water source, located in the carboniferous limestone deep below the distillery. This is the only water used in the distilling and blending process and it is a key ingredient in Penderyn's malt whisky.

Although the individual characteristics of a malt whisky are influenced by a number of factors, much of the flavor and final color depends on the type of wooden barrels used for maturation. These barrels are carefully selected by Dr. Jim Swan, one of the world's finest Master Distillers and an authority on wood management. Penderyn's whisky is first matured in Buffalo Trace bourbon casks, but when the time is right, the whiskies are disgorged and re-casked in ex-Maderia barrels. The whisky slowly absorbs the character of the Madeira, increasing in subtlety and complexity.

Bottled at premium strength, Penderyn "Aur Cymru", or "Welsh gold", is an exceptional single malt that offers enticing notes of cream toffee, vanilla and leather on both the nose and palate. Bold, savory notes of tropical fruit, raisin and oak emerge on the lasting finish. Quite different from a Scotch or Irish whisky, Penderyn is a must-have for any whisky enthusiast!

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

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