The review no one wanted or even cares about !!
Have you ever found yourself in a situation that commands you to really sit down and think very carefully how you need to approach something ?
Well as a blogger who tries to be as honest as is possible about what i do, i have a dilemma..
This review can go one of two ways, maybe even a third.
Scenario 1.. Everyone expects me to slate this whisky, so i slate this whisky in order to get the reviews, get people talking and create some controversial mudslinging and unattractive comments.
Scenario 2.. I write some positive thoughts, they are not what most people want to read and most of those then accuse me of writing in favour of the distillery just to get on the good side so i can try to receive some free samples..
Scenario 3.. I tell you as it is and half will understand and half wont be bothered ! Some will think I’ve over killed and the remaining of you will understand where i have come from on this one..
You decide which scenario i went for ….
For as long as i have been involved in whisky, either drinking, collecting or working within the industry, never have i known something to cause so much trouble as a tiny word, controversial, arrogance and even rudeness has been slung around all on the back of Terroir..
So let me make my stance clear straight away, for those who already know me, you will already be fully aware that i do not follow the argument that Terroir exists in the finished product, not only that but i don’t buy into the marketing ploy that knowing about the terroir allows you to make a better product for the consumer..
I also dont buy into knowing the background of where the barley was grown, how much rainfall or how much fertilizer was spread can enhance the enjoyment you will receive unless you have a vested interest in those very facts.. ie you are the farmer that grew the barley in the first place, its then a matter of pride rather than anything else..
So Waterford have set out to prove Terroir can be detected in the liquid we drink, they also claim this knowledge will make their single malt superior ( Some employees however are more down to earth and understand the liquid will not be for everyone )..
How or why as a farmer can i not be 100% behind this notion ? Well let me explain my standpoint if i can, Firstly i fully back the notion that growing barley is unique, there are vast differences and subtle difference to be found when sampling crops from different areas, different growing techniques and obviously weather.. where this then comes into question is when you put this crop through a vigorous production programme than not only strips the seed down but then goes ahead and boils the crap out of it.. Ask ANY distiller how the production process can alter, interfere and dictate how the spirit will taste and they will all answer that it is massively decisive in the final product..
Malting, mashing, fermentation and distillation all have impacts on how the new make will taste, add to this the yeast and it is mind blowing just how easy it is to manipulate what you will finish up with.. Lets not forget the old wooden cask, or should i say ” the finest oak casks” that then receive this initial liquid and proceed to do a little more magic in order to totally transform what you initially filled the cask with into something that all whisky lovers adore.. Yes that final liquid that is put into your bottle for you to enjoy..
Ratheadon – Single Farm – Waterford
The guys at Waterford have now set out to produce a series of single farm releases, showcasing their Irish single malt whiskey, although each single farm does contain a small percentage of another farms low wines so technically in the full legal aspect of the term this is a teaspooned single farm or a blended farm whichever term you prefer to use is fine by me.. Let me get something clear here though, the thinking behind doing this is extremely exciting !! it isn’t easy to do this sort of distilling, and in order to really do this 100% correctly would be mind numbing and probably expensive, between each separate batch you would have to clean down and probably dump the low wines collected at the end of each batch run, possible but not either cost efficient or needed when you can just add them to another batch…
Will or can it live up to the hype ?
Sample date.. 22-10-2019
Age.. 3 years
Cask.. American oak (35% ) Virgin American oak (20% ) French oak ( 25% ) and finally VDN ( 20% )
Nose.. Youthful but that’s obvious ! The new make aromas wrap around an extremely floral spirit, heather honey and digestive biscuits shine through with a soft apple peel aroma that gives this a very fresh finish..
Palate.. Again floral and fresh but there is a real weird note that lingers far too long, pepper and a little ginger bring a little spicy kick with those soft apple and pear notes becoming evident once again. Malty notes mix with the youthful spirit flavours, honey and vegetal notes towards the end.
Finish.. Youthful spirit notes with a fresh funky note
Thoughts.. As you take a mouthful and the anticipation levels heighten after a very inviting nose, and on the back of being told that due to their extensive cask options where we should see a very complex and mind blowing liquid i cant help but think about that rather odd note that i just cant seem to shift..
Although there is that weird note the spirit does show plenty of promise and i have no doubt that this liquid will be very interesting once it reaches maturity.. Is it the best spirit i have tried – Not by a long way.. Is it something that i want to buy – Again no..
BUT and this is a big but, if this spirit as i suspect is different to other releases then i see enough promise to honestly say i will be buying Waterford whisky in the future, just not this expression, as i just can not get passed that weird flavour, it just does not sit well with me.
Again though i do expect plenty of others will maybe find this very tasty, remove that certain note and i think i could actually learn to like this expression too..
Please understand, these are my personal opinions and should be treated that way !! Forget the marketing bullshit and take the spirit for what it is.. It is obviously youthful and still shows off those notes even though the use of virgin oak and some dominant cask types have been used, it still has plenty of promise, it has plenty of flavour a good balance and it will find its market.. Just like most other whiskies out there, it is what it is..
I am sure i will now get plenty of comments referring to me being bitter and just a little twisted towards the distillery but Hey Ho it is what it is..
Reviewed from a sample given by a friend..