Editor’s Note: This whisky was provided to us as a review sample by Penderyn Distillery. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
When people think of whisky made in the British Isles, many will think of Scotland and Ireland as the leading producers. Welsh whisky may not have the same cachet as Scotch or Irish whiskey, but Penderyn Distillery is trying to change that.
There is evidence of distillation in Wales since the Middle Ages, but in the 20th century, the industry had all but dried up due to a rising temperance movement and dwindling profits. When the founders of Penderyn began planning the distillery in the late 1990s, there had not been a new distillery in Wales for over a century.
Penderyn’s opening in 2004 was the beginning of what could be a whisky renaissance in Wales. As of 2021, Wales had a total of five whisky distilleries in operation, with those in the industry hoping more may open in the near future.
Penderyn Small Batch US Limited Edition #1, with a release of only 1,210 bottles, is made of single malt from 25% ruby Port, 25% STR (shave, toast, re-char), 25% ex-bourbon, and 25% Carcavelos fortified Portuguese wine casks that are at least four years old.
The whisky is 75% double distilled and 25% Faraday distilled and created under the close watch of Penderyn’s all-women distilling team. Penderyn prides itself on its pair of Faraday stills (in addition to more traditional pot stills), which were created by Dr. David Faraday, a descendent of the Victorian scientist Michael Faraday. According to Penderyn, the Faraday still allows “an extremely clean ‘flavorful’ spirit to be produced from a single still.” The distillery frequently experiments with mixing “slightly heavier, oilier spirit” from the pot still with the Faraday spirit to create their products.
Tasting Notes: Penderyn USA Limited Release #1
Vital stats: 50% ABV, single malt, $110-$150.
Appearance: The whiskey is a clear, dark golden color.
Nose: The nose starts off bright with granny smith apple and pear. Honey, malt, light spice, and vanilla follow to mellow it out.
Palate: This whiskey has a creamy mouthfeel and a flavor reminiscent of cinnamon apple pie. Caramel and vanilla bring a balanced sweetness. The finish is lingering, spicy, and warm.