New Make Spirit
Not much to say on this, it varies from 88% - 92% ABV. It has a strong nose with a real punch, musty but also apricots. It is, as you would imagine, almost overpowering with alcohol. Not something you would sip for enjoyment but amazing to experience as you can see the profile carry on throughout the range.
This is the flagship expression, the best selling and the best well known. Bottled at 46% it really sparkles in the glass. The nose is fruity with honey, raisins, plums, floral notes and vanilla.
On the palate you get oak, pepper and sherried fruits with a medium long sweet finish which is slightly drying.
This expression is made from using Buffalo Trace casks initially and then finished in Madeira casks. Whilst it is a "no age statement" (NAS) it is aged for 4-6 years before bottling.
The nose is oak, raisins and vanilla. On the palate the wood follows through, there is a dusty element and even though it is not a peated or smoked malt there is a smoky influence to it. The tang bites in the middle of the tongue, oak tanins, pepper, fruits which linger.
I don't like this as much but then personal taste is just that. This expression is made by storing spirit in ex-bourbon (Buffalo Trace) casks and some spirit in Oloroso casks. 30% of the spirit for this expression spends most of its life in Oloroso casks. This explains the oak tanins and stronger pepper as this would be European oak which gives less sweetness and vanilla that the Quercus alba White American oak casks.
As with the previous two expressions this is bottled at 46% and it makes a difference. The colour is pale straw with a real sparkle. The nose has a faint wisp of smoke and iodine. In the glass there is an oily viscosity that you often associate with older malts. You get vanilla, citrus, honey, slightly floral and then gentle smoke.
The finish has a twist of cooling peppermint as the smoke gently fades.
This is not an Islay and doesn't try to be. Normally when you see the word "peated" you think Ardbeg, Lagavulin, and the big flavours of Islay.
This is a different beast. It is aged in ex-bourbon barrels first and then ex-peated casks. I have it on extremely good authority that these are Buffalo Trace followed by Laphroaig quarter casks. The fact that the spirit is not actually peated but the peat influence is through barrel finish adds a lovely dimension and subtly. (Out of the core range, this is my favourite expression.)
This expression was launched at Whisky Live in Paris in 2014 but is actually a rebrand of an old expression, Penderyn 41. It is bottled at 41% and the first Penderyn expression to have a dragon on it.
The nose is vanilla, sweet honey, tropical fruits and creamy. The palate is light, sweet, musty, apricots but after the previous at 46% feels thin. The finish is short & sweet with a pepper bite.
Every now and again the Penderyn Master Distiller will select one or two of the very best Penderyn casks. They assert these are chosen as outstanding examples of their single malt whisky and are used to create limited edition Single Cask editions.
We had bottle 196/238 of cask B227. The spirit is distilled in a unique Faraday still to 92%ABV. We were told by the distiller (Laura) that this was casked at 63.4% and bottled at 63.2%. This is interesting as you would normally expect angels share of 2% and it is 6 yr matured in 2nd fill hogshead (Buffalo Trace) bourbon casks.
The nose is amazing. Sweet, vanilla, malt, spiced oak, big floral note, a faint waft dry spices. It has rich luscious fruity notes of peaches and apricots. It is a compelling nose that really opens up with time in the glass.
On the palate it is smooth and slightly oily. It drinks very well and the vanilla, floral notes and juicy fruits push to the front.
The finish has a peppery bite and mid tongue tang.
There is no doubt this was a great cask and the whisky drinks really well. My favourite element is the nose.
There is no doubting the quality of the Whisky produced by Penderyn. For anyone who still thinks that Scotland is the best in the world at producing Whisky, this is a reality check. They produce Whisky that will challenge that perception and change a lot of minds. I really rate all of the expressions (and possibly with the exception of Legend), believe in blind taste tests £ for £ they would win many a blind taste test.
For me the Bourbon cask stood head and shoulders above the rest but this is a real treat and not an everyday dram. Fro mthe core range they are all good but personally, I rate the peated as the best. Either way, they are all very definitely worth trying and we thank Penderyn for everything they did for us.