Waterford Organic: Gaia 1.1 is Ireland’s first whisky distilled from certified organic local barley. After a small series of Single Farm Origins releases which focused on specific terroirs, they are now exploring organic barley from six growers. The yields are much lower so they combine the separate crops before distilling and even then they only manage to lay down 400-600 casks of this type of spirit each year.
Organic: Gaia 1.1 is matured in 42% first-fill American oak, 17% virgin oak, 18% Vin Doux Naturel and 23% French oak. It is part of The Arcadian Series, which will not only include organic single malt but also biodynamic spirit and experiments with heritage grains.
Waterford Organic Gaia 1.1 (50%, OB ‘The Arcadian Series’ 2020, 18000 btl.)
Nose: very, very grainy at first. Dusty cereals, mashed potatoes and bread, with some mossy undertones. It picks up freshness over time, with lemons and a minty / floral touch. Green bananas, wet gravel and a good dose of vanilla and shortbread.
Mouth: plenty of peppery notes and oak, giving the young, oily spirit a spicy boost right away. The barley is still the backbone of this whisky. Spicy bread, ginger, walnuts. Hints of pears and bananas in the background. A little honey and peppermint as well.
Finish: quite long, still fairly oaky, with custard sweetness and a hint of the fortified wine in the end.
Still young with a huge barley side, but already enjoyable. If anything it proves Waterford has a bright future even when the focus on teirroir is slightly less pronounced. Sold out in many places but still available from The Whisky Exchange or Master of Malt for instance.