Waterford Distillery has bottled the first modern Irish Peated whiskies in generations, from barley grown on two distinct Single Farm Origins. They are part of Waterford’s objective to unearth whisky’s most natural flavours and commitment to Irish-only ingredients.
The production behind these bottlings, led by CEO Mark Reynier, has been ongoing since 2017, but kept under wraps until recently.
The two expressions – Peated: Fenniscourt and Peated: Ballybanon – join Waterford’s Arcadian Farm Origins, which represent rarity in whiskey thanks to the limited availability of the raw materials.
Neil Conway, head brewer at Waterford Distillery, explained: “Peat was a core part of Ireland’s heritage, whether that be commercially, for heating homes in rural countryside, or for the production of whisky. It was the ancient fuel source. At Waterford Distillery, since we place barley – the source of whisky’s natural flavour – at the centre of our universe, we are gathering the widest array of pure and natural flavour components. It felt only natural to nod to our cultural heritage, preserve old ways, and explore the peating process with modern varieties.
Malt whisky is already one of the most complex spirits in the world because it is made from barley – the best in the world coming from Ireland. So, combining this with ancient peated methods that are no longer widely available in Ireland, added intriguing new layers of flavour complexity. Cultivating Irish peat and learning how the impact of moisture levels can determine the whiskies smokiness is just another step to quest to unearth whisky’s most natural flavours.”
Waterford’s head distiller Ned Gahan has provided tasting notes for both expressions. The Peated: Ballybannon, matured in a combination of oak casks including first-fill US oak and virgin US oak, is described as having aroma notes of almonds and lavender honey and notes of BBQ fish, warm apple and armond tart on the palate.
The Peated: Fenniscourt, meanwhile, is filled in a combination of first-fill US oak, virgin US oak, premium French oak and Vin Doux Naturel. Its described as having salty notes combined with pear skin and woodland moss on the nose, and notes of barbecue, white pepper and dry rope on the mouth.
Teeling released Blackpitts to some fanfare in October 2020, but it wasn’t made from Irish barley or peat.
As part of Waterford’s desire for consumer transparency, TEIROIR CODE technology is available on each bottle, which will allow customers to follow the journey of the barley, from harvest to distilling.