In October 2021 Waterford distillery announced Biodynamic Luna 1.1. This is the world’s first whisky made from biodynamic barley, based on a rather radical philosophy that is more common in winemaking.
Three Irish farmers grow their barley according to esoteric principles derived from a series of lectures by Rudolf Steiner. However, not everyone accepts the benefits of these principles. Some are quite controversial, like burying manure-packed cow horns to ‘ferment’ underground. Ultimately the idea is to produce a chemical-free, healthy soil in tune with the moon, the seasons and nature in general. In short, Luna is an über-organic whisky so to speak.
This Biodynamic Luna 1.1 comes from a combination of first-fill US oak, virgin US oak, French oak and their trademark VDN casks. It is just over 3 years and 2 month of age.
Waterford Luna 1.1 Biodynamic (50%, OB 2021, 21.000 btl.)
Nose: starts on porridge and plain barley, moving towards lemony notes quickly. There are hints of salty air and white flowers too, with a slight sourness of yoghurt in the background. Unripe pears. Then hints of genever as well as a light metallic touch. A rye-like spiciness too.
Mouth: quite punchy, with this rye sharpness again, mingling with dough, white pepper, lime and unripe pear. Mid-palate it shows a certain bitterness and zesty notes, with an almost tannic mouth-coating sensation. Then subtle salty touches again. Very subtle tequila-like funk as well.
Finish: quite long, now the (virgin) oak spice comes out more, with green fruits, lemon peel and a hint of clove.
This is a young and characterful whisky. In fact a little too young, showing a very compact profile with a green and raw edge. While not my personal favourite, Waterford definitely found a corner to itself in the whisky world and delivers interesting drams. It will be interesting to see how they move on from this. Now available from The Whisky Exchange and TyndrumWhisky among others.