Gwalia Distillery, Penderyn Distillery Tasting Notes

Posted: September 29, 2011 in Wales, World Whiskies & Spirits

Penderyn Madeira Finish 46%

Advance Sample Jan 2004

A lovely, light, elegant bouquet, reminiscent of a young lowland malt, with its grassy/ earthy rich fruit and creamy Bourbon oak complexity. The palate is superb, every bit as delicate as the nose suggests. Gloriously smooth in the mouth. Yes its youthful but the oak mingles with the fleshing outMadeiralaced fruit, and buscity malty cereal. Lovely length with a spicy finale. Really clean spirit and wood. Shows definite promise.

Penderyn Madeira Finish 46%

Btl: Dec 2005 / Tasted: Apr 2006

Clean, aromatic, slightly floral nose of garden flowers and juniper followed by waves of creamy oak and raisiny dried fruit and orange citrus notes. Delicate, elegant, quite gin like on the palate with juniper, hedgerow berries and herbs. It develops a winey malty, creamy oak and finally gentleMadeiralaced dried fruit and a touch of gentle spice.

It has definitely put on weight since I tasted the advanced sample l tasted back in 2004.

Penderyn Madeira Finished 46%

Btl: April 2008/ Tasted: Sept 2008

Youthful, fresh and prickly on the nose with white liquorice, cereal/barley and a touch of rose petals, Turkish delight and botanicals. The oak drifts in later with creamy/ buttery vanilla and caramel notes.

The palate opens with the oak in its butter/ creamy glory – loads of vanillins followed by toffee, rose petals and botanicals. Still seems very young with crisp barley coming through on the middle. Good length with a crisp, salty finish. By now I would have expected it to be showing more maturity. Maybe it is?

Penderyn Madeira Finish 46%

Btl: Sept 2010/ Tasted: Dec 2010

A lovely expressive nose. Still quite youthful with perfumed marc-like notes followed by candied orange peel, crystallised dried fruit and raisins. The finishing casks adds notes of toffee, and there is even a hint, albeit quite distant peat. Over time it becomes richer and sweeter.

The palate is intense and youthful-ish with plenty of robust dried fruit, yet still displaying some scented marc notes like the nose. There is lessMadeiracask influence than in some previous bottlings, yet it comes through on the finish adding richness and hints of toffee. Lovely length with a spicy rose petal finish.

Penderyn Madeira Finished 46%

Sept 2011 Bottling/ Tasted: Dec 2011

A very high toned nose with plenty of peppery marc-like notes, cider apple, compressed apricot and pumpkin(?) along with a touch of sultana and dried fruit from the finishing cask. The nose shows a lovely depth and a sweet malty core. Later hints of sugared almonds and tobacco leaf appear.

The palate opens with some soft, sweet-ish barley followed by the youthful pepper and some tart citrus. A pleasantly intense middle with the finishing cask adding some blindingly lovely dried fruit of an almostArmagnacquality. Late oils arrive as does a slight bittering from the oak. One can definitely see some mature spirit at the core of this bottling. Still seriously good

Penderyn Madeira 46%

Btl: May 2012/ Tasted: Sept 2012

An elegant and quite floral nose with plenty of sweet barley followed by rose petals and chunky biscuity Madeira. Lovely balance with a late earthy note. Do I detect some encroaching maturity? It is certainly weightier than I remember and it definitely doesn’t have as much of that youthful rose petal marc character.

Soft and delicate on the palate, opening with juicy, malty barley and just a touch of rose petal. Very harmonious with a weighty Madeira core. Gentle spiced apricot and minerals on the middle. The oak does encroach and bitter the finish a tad, but not overly so. Just like the nose it does feel if they are using older spirit in their vatting.

Penderyn Madiera 46%

Btl: Nov 2014/ Tasted: Sept 2015

Light, fresh and aromatic aromas. Quite herbal and a little high toned with hints of rose petals, barley and chunky vanilla. The Madeira is quite subtle but adds a hints of dried fruit, biscuits and nuts.

The palate is light and elegant with plenty of herbal barley, followed by edgy citrus, vanilla and a touch of honey and rose petals. Some gritty, spicy tannins appear on the middle and linger throughout the finish, which is a little austere and minerally.

 


Penderyn 41 Madeira Finish 41%

Bourbon – Madeira/ Tasted: Apr 2011

A high toned and youthful nose with plenty of spicy rose petal marc and a lot less Madeira cask than usual. This allows more of the floral spirit character to show and it’s beautifully accented with some flecks of honey, green fruit, peach and apricot.

The palate is delicate, opening with some fleshy fruit and followed by a touch of light spice and rose petals. Like the nose the Madeira influence is at a minimum. Some honeyed barley moments balance the slightly bitter oak vanillins but move into a more sweet, buttery demeanour on the finish.

Penderyn Madeira 41%

Btl: June 2012/ Tasted: Oct 2012

The nose is younger and crisper than the 46% bottling. There is less of the Madeira influence, like I have found on previous tastings which allows the crisp apple and rose petal distillery character to be more prominent along with some lovely barley and creamy, fudgy oak vanillins.

The palate opens with that fudgy oak, accented by a light biscuity Madeira note. The spirit character comes through with the crisp apple, rose petal and barley on the middle before some lovely sweet, perfumed honey appears. Finally the Madiera returns adding a touch of dried fruit and spice to the finish.

 

 


Penderyn Peated 46%

Btl: Sept 2007/ Tasted: Nov 2007

Clean, crisp and cerealy. It has a nice sweetness with vanilla, garden fruit and botanicals. Gentle peat drifts in and reminds me of Ledaig. Lovely subtle sweetness with apple and citrus notes.

Initially quiet vanillery on the palate with delicate peat, cereal, botanicals and garden fruits. Intense and phenolic with earthy Longrow-esque peat. Good length with juicy mouth watering apple and plenty of coal smoke on the finish. – Anthracite perhaps boyo!

Penderyn Peated 46%

Btl: May 2010/ Tasted: Dec 2010

A delicate nose of citrus and apple along with a pleasant cereal sweetness. It is showing some definite signs of maturing with only just the briefest marc-like note. There is a lovely sweetness to the gentle peat and the supporting American oak sits in the background adding structure.

The palate opens with plenty of coal dust and sweet peat (more than the nose would suggest). It has a lovely purity of citrus and apple flavours and like the nose appears to be maturing well. Soft and gentle with just a hint of marc. Good length with some spice notes joining the peat smoke at the end.

Penderyn Peated 46%

Vatting of Bourbon and ex-peated Scotch Whisky casks.

Btl: Feb 2012/ Tasted: Sept 2012

The nose opens with a plethora of sweet, briny peat followed by crisp green apple,  citrus and vanilla. The nose displays a lot more peat character than the last time I tasted it and is distinctly Islay in tone. I would hazard a guess that some ex-Laphroaig casks were used as there are some medicinal and tar notes.

The palate is soft, gentle and quite youthful, opening with honey, lightly baked apple, crisp green apple an vanilla. There is more of the rose petal spirit character on the palate and the peat is subtler an more earthy in character. Very long with some sweet smoke coming through along with a touch of brine and light spice. Lovely after taste – lightly oiled creosote. Wonderfully fresh and very enjoyable.

 


Pendryn Sherrywood 46%

Btl: Jun 2008/ Tasted: Sept 2008

Lovely, rich nutty aromas of hazelnuts and sugared almonds followed by the slightly rose petaly young spirit. Over time caramel and sticky toffeearomas develop. Intriguing, sweet and earthy but nicely balanced by its freshness. The palate is quiet oily with the marc like rose petal spirit character more dominant than the sherry oak (in contrast to the nose), which begins to come through on the middle with hints of sugared almonds, toffee and caramel. Good length with cinnamon and soft, crumbly spice notes. Again lovely balance and not as sweet as the nose suggests.

Penderyn Sherrywood 46% £36.95

Btl: December 2009/ Tasted: Dec 2010

The spirit here is a lot more youthful with plenty of floral marc-like notes and botanicals. The finish is quite light (lighter than the last time I tasted it) and I would assume that this bottling has only been finished for 3 or 4 month. However it still adds some pleasant candied almond notes and hints of white liquorice.

Soft and fruity with the candied almond sherry notes up first, but the spirit holds it’s own against the Oloroso. Faintly peaty with the spirit showing a tad more maturity than the nose would suggest. Lovely length with some light botanical spirit notes coming through on the finish.

Penderyn Sherrywood 46%

Vatting of Bourbon and dry Oloroso casks.

Btl: Feb 2012/ Tasted: Sept 2012

The nose is quite floral with a touch of perfumed violets and  plenty of rose petal along with delicate dried fruit, subtle leafy Oloroso and honey. Showing some maturity with a lovely depth and just a subtle sherry character. With time some sweet orange and praline notes become apparent.

Soft an gentle on the palate, opening with some creamy barley and honey, followed by some rose petal notes on the middle and finally gentle dried fruit, liquorice, dark chocolate and toffee. The rose petal spirit character returns on the finish along with plenty of biting spices. I have to say that this has improved tremendously as there is a lot less of the boiled sweet/ confected sherry character of  previous bottlings.

 


Penderyn Portwood 41%

Btl: Apr 2012/ Tasted: Sept 2012

The nose opens with the aromas of sweet berries, barley and earth followed by hints of rose petals, milk chocolate and a core of thick honey. As it is quite light on the finish with a lovely elegance I would presume that it is a vatting of some spirit aged in American oak with some aged in Portwood. With time some lovely, sweet spice notes emerge. With time it becomes strongly aromatic with a slight perfumed top note.

The palate is soft and slightly sweet opening with plenty of ripe red berries, milk chocolate, dried fruit and spicy/ winy notes. Lightly honeyed on the middle as the spirit comes through with a hint of rose petals. Lovely length with the spice notes returning along with some slightly drying oak. Again a lovely balance.

Penderyn Portwood 46%

Tasted: Sept 2016

Herbal and winey with juicy strawberry and syrup coated raspberry. Slightly earthy and straw-like with hints of earth, milk chocolate and spice. Pleasant balancing edgy freshness from the spirit.

The palate is juicy and fruity, opening the syrup coated red fruit, followed by earth, straw and developing balsamic notes on the middle. A smidge of barley and citrus can be detected and the alcohol adds a counter-point to the sweet fruit. Long with some slightly bitter dark chocolate and lingering warm spice and port notes.

 


Penderyn ‘The Oloroso Edition’ 50%

Tasted: June 2005

A clean, elegant, big nose of complex, earthy sherry fruit, nicely balanced with salt(!?) and vanilla notes. On the palate it is superb, full of mouth coating, oily, unctuous, complex sherry fruit, demerara sugarfading into a very salty middle, tangy alcohol with the Oloroso/ nutty Manzanilla notes coming back on the finish. Lovely length with coffee notes on the aftertaste.

The addition of a little water makes the nose sing, emphasising its almost coastal freshness! On the palate it smooths and brings out hidden layers of dried fruit and almonds, but lessening the sherry impact. Seriously good.

Penderyn ‘The Welsh Rugby Union 125th Anniversary’ 50%

Bourbon – Madeira/ Tasted: Apr 2011

An expansive, richly Madeira accented nose. Quite spicy and sublimely fruity with tropical fruit, greengages and buckets of black peppery spice. A stunning nose! Multi-layered and multi-dimensional. With time the spices become more herbally and finally some bourbon-esque vanilla appears.

There’s no gentle preamble on the palate as you are straight into a mouthful of bourbon spiced fruit. Serious big and mouth wateringly intense, helped by the slightly higher abv. Next the Madeira dried fruit wades into the ruck leading to a peppery marc finish. The oak slightly bitters the finish but the enormity of the malt holds it off well. Without a shadow of a doubt the best bottling of Penderyn I’ve tasted.

Penderyn ‘Celtic Manor Sherrywood 2010’ 50%

Single Oloroso butt – 200 bottles/ Tasted: Apr 2011

A huge, spotlessly clean, sweet toffee/ nutty Oloroso nose – Dried fruits ahoy! However the peppery marc spirit character comes through adroitly. Nowhere near as confected as the standard sherrywood expression, it is more real and earthy with what seems like a smidgen of peat and later some lovely mature honey, which mature beyond it’s years.

A lovely soft entry with plenty of spicy raisinated fruit, burnt toffee and some peppery spirit notes. Reasonably complex with hints of burnt wood, cocoa and yet more dried spicy fruit. The oak bites adding a bitter chocolate note to the finish. Not quite as complex as the nose but the spirit does return on the after taste.

 


 

Penderyn Myth 41%

American oak/ Tasted: Mar 2015

A lovely, crisp nose of oily barley, green banana, herbs and citrus. The robust, buttery, oily marzipan oak sits in the background adding weight. Wow those bourbon notes are big and chunky but the freshness of the spirit stands up to them amazingly well. With time hints of violet and biscuits appear.

The palate opens with the lightly toffee’d oak followed by green apple, barley, herbs and balancing citrus. Very toasty on the middle as the oak kicks it up a notch, but the citrus balances adroitly. Long, lightly mineral finish with the oak and green fruit notes lingering. Finally a light drying spice note appears.

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