Thanksto /u/percyhedgehog for one of these samples.
So, you may have some questions, like: Why am I reading about a world whisky? And who is the first guy in the images? Is he me? Where’s Wales? Don’t I mean Whales? No, I think I mean Wales? Why was there a question mark there?
Let me answer your questions, in order:
- Because I posted about it and you love it
- St. David is the Patron Saint of Wales, and I’m posting this today (March 1st) because it’s St. David’s day! Who’s that? Well he made a hill in Wales and had a pet dove. Also he lived to 100 years old in Wales in the 6th century, so why not make him Patron Saint of Wales
- I’m not him
- Wales is a Country within the UK located to the West of the country. It’s best known for being the butt of a bunch of jokes, including Sheep Fucking and people caring too much about Soccer. It’s a beautiful place, as long as you don’t count Cardiff.
- No, I mean Wales. Whales don’t make whisky yet.
- I’m pretty sure I mean Wales.
- Because it’s a running joke.
So, because it’s St. David’s Day, and because I was raised Protestant, I’m doing something special. Or rather because I saw Penderyn post about St. David’s Day, I thought it would be nice to review whiskies from Wales.
So, without further blathering on about olden priests who had pet birds, let’s get to the whiskies.
Up first we have Penderyn Portwood 41, which was made totally not in Port Casks, has nothing to do with wood, and the number 41 is a typo.
Now that I’ve lied to you completely, we can continue. It’s actually pretty straightforward. They finished their whisky in ex-Port casks, and originally sold this only to the French market, probably to piss off the English.
Now it’s part of their standard range. The 41 denotes the alcohol content.
What kind of port? For how long? No idea. They hold that one close to their chests, with the location of dragons, why the Doctor Who exhibit is closed on Mondays, and why people in Cardiff don’t clean up after their dogs.
It’s a mysterious land, I tells ya.
Price: N/A at the LCBO (Not because they hate the Welsh, because they are out… Also because they hate everyone)
Colour: 2.5YR 4/8
Nose: Sour plum, cake, bubblegum, violets, caramel, alcohol
Sweet. Lots of plum notes. Kinda sour. Surprised me at first. Not because I didn’t read, more so I expected a lighter nose.
The young age hangs out and burns you near the end of the nose. Rough after sweets and floral notes danced in my brain.
Taste: Bubblegum, pepper, mint, basil, orange blossom
Young, based on the bubblegum and pepper notes. It pairs up well with the floral and fruity aspects.
This reminds me of a tequila, if I’m being honest. The amount of pepper and spice is quite strong, even at 41%.
Finish: Pepper, vinegar, basil, floral, wood
Are we sure this isn’t port finish tequila? Like, the Welsh are secretly harvesting Agave and just fucking with the world.
And you know what? That’d be awesome. Okay, it’s not a typical finish, and I’m pretty sure that’s due to the (assumed) young age. However I like the peppery, strong finish. But I like tequila, so Your Mom May Violin or something.
Conclusion: So I liked this, however my bias is WAY showing here. First off I’m making up for having a bad time once in Cardiff yet loving the rest of Wales.
Second, I like tequila. Sipping Tequila is fun, and I actually owe /r/tequilaa review.
Third I love the sweetness in this one.
So, if you don’t like sweet whisky, or tequila, or dodged WAY too many dog turds in Wales, then maybe this isn’t for you. Maybe it is. I enjoyed a unique dram. Not complex, yet I’d have it as a daily drinker.
Following on the heels of Portwood we have Penderyn Sherrywood Finish. Normally Penderyn finishes their whisky in Madeira casks, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
This one takes the same Madeira dram and instead puts it in ex-Oloroso casks.
I must say, we’re improving over the Portwood right now. Better Abv, and we know what kind of Wine was used. Anything else like this and I may as well be St. David.
First I need a pet dove though. Also need to make a hill. And might need to be Welsh too. I do have a dragon on my shoulder though, so that helps.
Let’s see how this one tastes, shall we?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Colour: 5Y 9/6
Nose: Red liquorice, pear, peanut, pepper, bread dough, old flowers
Starts out nice, very sweet. Starts to even out, and I’m enjoying it.
Then it starts into an Irish Whiskey side of things, and I’m confuzzled. Confuzzled to the MAX!
Then it smells like flowers that need to be thrown out. I’m sad.
Taste: Red jujube, sulphur, cotton, lemon, olive oil
Starts out nice with some sweet treats, and then I swallow sulphur.
I am not a happy camper. It tries to balance out with an earthy sweet combo, however the brimstone takes the cake on this one, to be literal.
Finish: Pepper, sulphur, mint, papaya
Dragons can be a bonus. I personally have many miniatures of dragons because I like them.
And I’m a nerd.
Here dragons aren’t helping. The sulfuric element is taking over. I love the papaya note with the mint, and the pepper is nice there too. It’s just ruined by a bad cask.
Conclusion: I’m hoping that Penderyn makes a better version of this in the future. Typically I don’t mind the rougher elements a sherry cask can bring, but holy hell it was impossible to ignore on this one.
Oh well. Bad Sherry Casks are just a fact of life now. I’d almost say replace this with a better cask, like rum, or Tokaji, or really anything at this point. Skip.
The standard of the Penderyn range is Penderyn Maderia. This is the one that you’ll find for sale in shops (see the picture I have), and it’s the one that proud Welshman and confused other country man will buy.
Madeira wine is a fortified Portuguese Wine made in New Mexico… wait,. no, it’s made on the Madeira islands, otherwise that would be silly. It’s somewhat difficult to tell how it will affect a finish, as the wine itself can range from sweet to dry.
So I don’t know which varietal went into the cask that finished this whisky. Granted I don’t know the bourbon that went into half the Scotches I try too, so fuck it, let’s see how it tastes, shall we?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Colour: 5Y 9/8
Nose: White chocolate, wheat, cedar, popcorn
Sweet. The initial flavour of white chocolate leads me to believe they used a sweet Madeira. That said, the other Penderyn’s have been sweet, so… I’m lost.
Love the popcorn flavour. Note it’s popcorn without butter. Just popcorn. Simple nose.
Taste: Butter, orange, pepper, lime, green apple, carrot
Wow, I’m actually surprised. Big fruit flavours, nice amount of acid. Little high on the sweet side, however that may be the wine influence mixed with the whisky being that sweet.
Finish: Pepper, wheat, honey, caramel, thyme, coconut
It’s a dry, dry, dry finish. Really dry. Like drinking sand dry. I am not a big dry whisky fans. Or dry anything, really.
Make your own jokes there. They are gross and it’s a Saint’s Day for fuck’s sake.
I like the coconut, however this is really unbalanced towards dry, if you didn’t get that before.
Conclusion: It’s pretty ballsy doing a standard offering, especially the front runner, as a wine finish that isn’t typically used.
I can see why. If I was a different whisky drinker who had the knowledge and wherewithal to appreciate a really dry drink, I’d say this is my favourite of the bunch. It’s good, interesting, and other than the finish, well balanced.
However I could no more be St. David than not be myself, so I’m docking points for the finish. Still worth trying.
And I saved the Penderyn Peated for last, because once you pass the Peat Barrier… well you can’t drink whisky anymore.
So this is a limited edition from Penderyn. They make 5,000 a year, and if you don’t have one, well… you’re left out in the cold. Or whatever temperature it gets in Wales, I’m Canadian and it was lovely while we were there.
What I’m saying is this is a limited edition. Makes sense, since it’s peated.
Wait, it isn’t peated in the traditional sense. It’s aged in a peated cask. So it’s peated the same way that… some bourbon’s specialty versions. So that’s different.
I assume it means that they used ex-Islay casks for this one. I hope they didn’t use any whisky that was peated with Canadian peat. So far those haven’t done well.
Oh… guess I should just stop rambling and get to the fucking whisky.
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Colour: 5Y 9/6
Nose: Peanut, earth, peat, lemon, baked bread, mint, marzipan
Nice notes on it. Again, reminds me of an Irish whiskey, with yeast and some dry sweet notes. Good use of acid and earth here.
Oh, and there’s peat. So no worries. None at all. As long as you stop reading now.
Taste: Pepper, potato, yeast, walnut, olive oil, butter
Oh WOW that’s a lot of earth notes. Like… way too many. And yeasty. I’m starting to think this is an ex-Irish Whiskey cask that was peated. Wow this hurts.
Finish: Peat, cumin, sea salt, almond, floral
It finishes like a rough Mescal uppercutting your taint with a rose bush.
If you just got a boner from that, you’re welcome. This whisky is for you.
Conclusion: So I’m not a fan. The taste is off putting and dense like an upwashed turnip, the finish does things I don’t like, and the nose saves it. Honestly, I’d skip on this limited edition.
I’m hoping that the sample I received was crap. I’m betting on it, if I’m being fair. I will re-review this, just to be sure, however for now, stick to shooting tequila instead of this dram.
World Whisky reviews #135-138, Wales review #1-4, Whisky Network reviews #658-662
1001 Whiskies to taste before you die review #276-279