Thanks to /u/unclimability for this sample.
So this is how far behind me reviews are: I went to take a class about 8 weeks ago. Right before the first workshop, Unclimability showed up for an impromptu tasting, and we met in person. He left with both kidneys still on him.
Since then said class kicked my ass all the way from here to next year. But I’m catching up now.
So Umclimbability, a prolific reviewer and brand ambassador is drinking with us. Totally not a trap to steal his amazing kidneys. He brings out Penderyn Rich Oak because, we… duh, that’s who he works for. Nice palate opener, what with the low amount I can have, since I need to think about accounting the next day.
Penderyn Rich Oak is a limited edition that comes out from Penderyn. It’s typically 50%, typically made from a handfull of casks, and for some reason doesn’t have any way of the internet telling them apart. Pro Tip Penderyn: Add some fake latin or Gaelic to your versions. Sure the other distilleries do it and we make fun of them, but I’m still wondering if I’m missing types of casks on the information below.
I’ve been wanting to review a Penderyn at a stronger strength. So let’s see how it tastes, shall we?
Price: No longer available
Cask Type: Whiskybase says STR wine cask, /u/smoked_herring says Madeira, STR, and ex-Bourbon casks, I don’t know what to believe anymore.
Number of bottles: 1,349
Colour: 5Y 8/8
Nose: Brine, apple, cinnamon, vanilla, peach, hay
Initially some salt, a bit of apple and cinnamon. Nothing is too harsh. It’s lighter than you’d expect from a 50% single malt.
Bit of water brings out some vanilla and sweetens up the nose. Some cereal eventually. I get the feeling more time would be quite beneficial here.
Taste: Sour strawberry, ginger, earth, pear
So here’s where more of the STR cask comes in. STR casks always have these cool moments, and here it’s the sour strawberry aspect, along with some spice. Earth tries to balance it out. Doesn’t quite do it.
Simple, nice to have. Slightly unique.
Finish: Pepper, peach, anise, cookie dough, celeriac
Finish doubles down on that missing earth I mentioned. Gets quite cross at me for mentioning it, what with the distiller/blenders ability to see in the future and all.
Nice cookie dough comes out. It’s the start of what I think I was looking for, some complexity. Sad it comes at the end.
Conclusion: So don’t get me wrong, I think this was a fun experiment. And as Penderyn gets older, I like to see them pushing the ideas and trying things out.
That all said, and ignoring my frustration with the lack of name differentiation, I didn’t hate this and I didn’t love it. On the pros, it’s not bad flavouring. There’s aspects of things that are a bit odd, but I feel that added to it’s appeal. And that cookie dough at the end is something they should explore.
On the cons… I mean, it’s a limited edition, it’s higher strength, they use different casks, and on this occasion it didn’t live up to competitors that gave the same thing. I’d sip this and enjoy it, but I hope they keep pushing the envelope and give us something a lot more complex.
World Whisky review #369, Wales review #5, Whisky review #1736
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