Penderyn was founded in 1998 by four private individuals. It’s the one and only Welsh distillery and quite different from Scottish or Irish whisk(e)y because the complete process from wash to new make is done in a single still. Also, they buy their wash from a regional beer brewer instead of preparing it themselves.
At the moment there are three core expressions. This standard Penderyn is matured in bourbon barrels and finished in madeira casks. There’s also a sherried and a peated version, together with a few limited editions such as a “rich madeira” bottling.
Penderyn ‘Madeira finished’ (46%, OB 2008)
Nose: fruity and mildly perfumed. Big notes of white wine and oak. Some juicy vanilla as well. Slight apple and peach. Not bad. Stranger, dusty notes as well, mixed with hints of new-make (artificial banana). Let’s say it’s different.
Mouth: malty with a few young bourbon notes: pine wood, sweet vanilla. Blood oranges. Also lokum (turkish delight) with rose water. Hints of bubble gum that are not really integrated. Gets spicier towards the finish.
Finish: honeyed and sweet. Creamy toffee.
Well, I think this Penderyn would have been a lot worse without the Madeira finish, because underneath is basically immature whisky (probably around 4 or 5 years). With the wine, it’s more interesting but really focused on sweet notes and a bit mono-dimensional. Young whisky is already fruity-sweet and a Madeira cask exaggerates this. I’m sure a sherried version (reviewed tomorrow) will offer more flavour variation. Around € 40.
Please note that there seems to be a significant batch variation in Penderyn releases. Even though the bottles look identical (apart from a bottling code), Jim Murray scores the April 2007 batch 76/100 and the June 2007 batch 95/100 with everything in between. Maybe I had one of the lesser batches (my 5cl sample didn’t mention a batch code).