Welsh Whisky with Character and Pride
Penderyn Distillery produces award-winning single malt whiskies and spirits in the foothills of the beautiful Brecon Beacons in South Wales. The distillery is found in the historic village of Penderyn in the Brecon Beacons National Park. Distilling in Wales had ended long ago, but in the late 1990s, in a pub in Hirwaun in the Welsh valleys, a group of friends discussed opening the first whisky distillery in Wales in over a century.
This location for production was chosen as it has its own supply of fresh natural spring water which is the key to a good whisky. Penderyn Whisky was launched in the presence of HRH Prince Charles on St David’s Day (the Welsh saint’s day) in 2004.
Whisky winning over 70 Double Gold/Gold/Masters awards
Apart from the water the distillery uses the finest barley, and the best American oak bourbon casks. Their attention to detail has been recognised, with Penderyn Whisky winning over 70 Double Gold/Gold/Masters awards, and it is now available in over 45 countries.
In 2014 Penderyn commissioned a pair of Scottish-style ‘lantern’ stills which allowed them to develop new products. Their whisky is aged in charred oak barrels to develop complexity, flavour and delicious layers. As a result of the company’s success a new distillery opened in Llandudno in North Wales in May 2021, and another distillery is planned for Swansea, in South Wales, this year.
I have tasted Penderyn Distillery’s Icons of Wales #8 ‘Hiraeth’ in its distinctive gold bottle. This is the first Penderyn whisky distilled in their new pot stills, with a small amount from their Faraday still output. This gift-quality whisky is aged in ex-Bourbon casks and bottled at 46%. ‘Hiraeth’ is Welsh meaning something like nostalgia or longing for one’s home.
A step above
The Penderyn website is well worth a look. It offers temptations for the whisky enthusiast and those looking for gifts for aficionados. Their range is unique and a step above what one would find in any supermarket or even most well-stocked spirit merchants. These bottles are worthy competition for both traditional Scotch and Irish whiskeys.
One seldom thinks of Wales as a whisky-producing nation, but Penderyn has made its mark. It has been independently judged in the international arena and has been proclaimed a winner. I look forward to enjoying more.