Last week, I told you about my brilliant tour of Penderyn Distillery. But a brilliant tour is nothing without brilliant whiskies. Thankfully, Penderyn Whisky is something to behold! This isn’t a distillery that is scared to experience, but here, I want to highlight three cracking whiskies that I tasted during my tour.
Penderyn Madiera Finish 46%
The Madeira finish is Penderyn’s signature style and has, rightly, won numerous awards all over the world. Like all of the spirit at Penderyn, it is produced in the unique Faraday Still, before being matured in bourbon barrels, and then finished in rich Madeira wine casks. This gives the light spirit a natural sweetness on the nose, along with rich fruity flavours. The palate is fresh and dry, although the vanilla sweetness from the Madeira casks is still there. A crisp finish is followed by a slight kick of spice and ginger right at the end.
Penderyn Peated 46%
With only 5,000 bottles released annually, Penderyn Peated is the distillery’s wee treat. After being initially matured in ex-bourbon casks, it’s then finished in old Laphroig Quarter casks, with all of the smoky finish coming from the wood. The distillery does have plans to start working with peated barley in the future though. As expected, the wood lends an earthy wisp of smoke to Penderyn’s sweet nose. The palate has a vanilla sweetness, with crisp green apples and citrus. The medium length finish is light but full of smoke – a bit like Kilchoman Machir Bay or any one of Bruichladdich’s bottlings.
Penderyn Celt 41%
Now, here’s something interesting. Made in exactly the same way at the Penderyn Peated, the Celt is simply bottling at a lower level of alcohol. However, the difference in taste was astounding. I was expecting this to be lighter due to the lower ABV, but the smoke REALLY hits you. The sweetness and citrus of Penderyn is still there, although the smoke then grows more intense on the palate, with a bit of a medicinal waft coming in as well.
After giving the team at Penderyn a bit of the ex-distillery tour guide chat, I was also offered a taste of the distillery’s cream liqueur and gin, both of which are fantastic. Overall, a brilliant range of whiskies (and other spirits) from Penderyn. So be sure to take the plunge and give them a try next time you see the distillery’s elegant bottles sitting in your local whisky bar.