Finest Welsh Whiskies to Have fun Wales’ Nationwide Vacation

February 23, 2022

The island of Britain is residence to essentially the most well-known whisky on the earth, scotch. However Scotland doesn’t have an unique lock on British single malt. Its neighbor to the southwest, Wales, has its personal whisky custom that’s value attending to know. And Saint David’s Day, which occurs on March 1, gives the proper excuse to attempt some Welsh whiskies.

Because the nationwide vacation of Wales—just like Saint Patrick’s Day in Eire—St. David’s Day commemorates Dewi Sant, who lived within the sixth century and was mentioned to have died on March 1. He based 12 monasteries and carried out many miracles, together with elevating up a hill as he was preaching to make it simpler for individuals to see and listen to him. The image of Saint David is a leek. Legend says that, earlier than a battle in opposition to the Saxons, he suggested the Welsh fighters to lock a leek to their helmets so they might acknowledge one another.

To at the present time, individuals sport leeks—or, maybe as a result of carrying a pungent allium isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, daffodils—as an emblem of Welsh identification on Saint David’s Day. Additionally they maintain parades and concert events, carry out conventional dances, and put together Welsh specialties like a tea and spice cake known as bara brith and a meat and vegetable stew known as cawl. There’s even a Saint David’s Day marathon. And naturally, many individuals imbibe Welsh whisky.

David himself was a teetotaler, advising the monks who adopted him to stick to a easy food plan of bread, salt, and herbs. There was solely water to drink. However we’re not monks, and having fun with a dram of Welsh whisky on his day is usually a becoming tribute.

A protracted whisky historical past

Wales has a protracted historical past of distillation that dates again to the Center Ages. Nevertheless by 1910, with the nation within the grip of a temperance wave, there have been no operational distilleries left. Ninety years later, the Welsh Whisky Firm—now known as Penderyn—opened a distillery in Brecon Beacons Nationwide Park, launching its first whisky on Saint David’s Day in 2004.

Penderyn is presently the most important whisky producer in Wales, having expanded to a second location in Llandudno in 2021, with plans to open a 3rd web site in Swansea sooner or later. However within the final decade it’s been joined by 4 different distilleries: Dà Mhìle (opened in 2012), Aber Falls (2017), Coles (2017), Anglesey Môn (2018), and In the Welsh Wind (2018).

Wales’ fashionable whisky trade remains to be younger, and many of the distilleries are craft in scale, promoting domestically. Solely Penderyn presently exports to the US. Fortunately, it has a broad portfolio that encompasses a variety of cask finishes, all constructing on the distinctive taste profile created in its uncommon Faraday nonetheless, which is a mix pot-column hybrid.

“The columns and related fractionation plates enable for the superb distillation of a spirit that’s exceptionally pure, clear, and lightweight,” says industrial director Giancarlo Bianchi, including that the spirit comes off the nonetheless at 90 % ABV, a a lot increased proof than most different whiskies. “At 90 % ABV, the spirit doesn’t comprise heavy, oily compounds which can be attribute of conventional double distillation, leading to a distillate that’s fruity on the nostril as an alternative of malty. This attribute remains to be detectable after a number of years of maturation in oak casks and defines the Penderyn type.”

Along with its Faraday stills, just a few years in the past Penderyn additionally started utilizing conventional “lantern-style” pot stills to make a barely completely different kind of whiskey. “Our grasp blender, Aista Phillips, has been introducing it selectively with our core vary,” Bianchi notes. “How and the place is at her discretion, and it’s a little secret she doesn’t even share along with her colleagues!”

The place to search out Penderyn whisky

Penderyn’s whiskies are extensively accessible within the U.S. Any one in all them could be a worthy beverage for Saint David’s Day. If you happen to’re having bother selecting, try the suggestions under. And as they are saying in Wales, Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus (dee-the goil De-wi ha-peece)—Glad Saint David’s Day!

Finest Welsh Whiskies: Desk of Contents

Penderyn Madeira
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1. Penderyn Madeira

The distillery’s flagship whisky is initially matured in bourbon casks, then completed in madeira casks. It showcases each dried and tropical fruit, vanilla cream, and rounded oak. It’s bottled at 46 % ABV and non-chill filtered to protect a wealthy mouthfeel.


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Penderyn Celt
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2. Penderyn Celt

Completed in quarter casks that beforehand held peated whisky, this single malt gives a mild introduction to smoky, maritime notes. Usually bottled at 41 % ABV, the proof goes as much as 43 % ABV for the U.S. market. This provides extra texture and taste.


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Penderyn Single Cask
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3. Penderyn Single Cask

Although extra restricted than Penderyn’s core vary, the only cask choices are effectively value searching for out. Bottled at cask energy, these releases showcase distinctive maturations like tawny port; further age, ranging as excessive as 15 years outdated; and even the pot still-made single malt, accessible now within the U.S.


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