From the founder of Bruichladdich, Waterford Distillery is doing something completely new and their Bannow Island release is a testament to that.
Everything about Waterford Distillery is sleek and modern. Their website is unlike any other whiskey brand about, and for good reason. It feels like some kind of science experiment is taking place and the results are being recorded there.
This isn’t unintentional either. At Waterford Distillery they are all about experimentation and uncovering new aspects of whiskey distillation. They are particularly interested in terrior, or as they like to say it, teireoir.
This is a concept that is widely known of in terms of wine making, specifically in France. The word means region or area in French and signifies the area where wine is made and the environmental factors that therefore have an impact on the final flavour. Everything is closely considered with terrior, down to the soil make up and the subtle changes in weather.
This is something that Waterford Distillery founder Mark Reynier has long been interested in exploring. He started the work at Bruichladdich on Islay and when he left and started Waterford, he took the experiment further.
Teireoir at Waterford
There are some truly innovative and unique things going on at Waterford Distillery.
Each of their bottles is released with a Teireoir code, which you can then type into their website to uncover a whole host of information about that particular whiskey and how it was made. This is taking consumer engagement to a whole other level.
While this is a new thing for the distillery, they still have a lot of information you can access with your code. There is information on the harvest of the barley, the grower, maps, distillation details and a raft of info on the wood used. This is detail that no other whiskey brand is currently providing their customers.
Waterford also has a unique way of categorising their releases. They do so under the title Elements, and label the releases as “Spirits”, which is part of their wider whiskey elements on their own periodic table. Each bottling considers a different element in the creation of that whiskey.
For the Bannow Island release, both 1.1 and 1.2, they focus on “Single Farm Origin”. This simple means that all the grains used in the dreation of the malt are sourced from one farm and one farm only. That farm is owned by Ed Harpur and is found on Bannow Island, just off the west coast of Ireland, in Co. Wexford.
Already we have more information about this barley than any other whiskey brand provides, and that’s a big deal. We’re also told that this malt has been matured in first fill American oak, new oak, French oak and casks used to mature vin du naturel, which is a sweet French wine.
Tasting notes for Waterford Distillery Bannow Island 1.2 Irish Single Malt Whiskey
Bottle cost: £69.95
The nose opens with delicate floral notes, malted barley and some dried fruits. It is sweet and light, with lots of complex aromas coming through.
The palate is slightly spicy and has more notes of malted barley. Honey and caramel play a big part here and make for a smooth, sweet mouth feel.
The finish lingers and ends on a warming note of spice.
There is no doubt that Waterford Distillery are doing something very different to other whiskey makers. They are really exploring the very basics of whiskey and what contributes to taste. With malts like this being released, it is certainly working for them.
What do you think of Waterford Distillery and teireoir? Start the conversation in the comments!