I find myself looking at another Waterford single farm and wondering what might be in store for me this time.. It is fair to say my connection with the distillery has not been smooth but i have always maintained i would be fair with the whisky produced so here goes..
The single fam releases in my opinion have received some unfair criticism, the whisky is young which has never been hidden and is very similar in concept to releasing a single cask, its a story into the journey of what will eventually be a destination..
Not all journeys are smooth, they are not all enjoyable and some are darn right crap but once you find yourself at the destination those bumps just seem to fade away.
Waterford have been very bold in their approach and no matter what individuals think of their approach we have to be humble and give the product a chance, forget that bumpy journey, forget the breakdowns, running out of patience and of course the sticky sweet wrappers that stick to everything they can and just try to enjoy whats put in front of you.
This latest offering from the distillery to come my way is the Sheestown, I am not sure on many details as this is a sample sent by a friend for my opinion. I can however tell you that this was produced from barley grown by Phillip O’Brien, who farms just outside Kilkenny, and comprises of well drained loamy soil…
As with all the Waterford single farms this is not a single cask but a make up of casks – 35% first-fill American oak, 21% virgin American oak, 25% French oak and 19% fortified wine casks. This is essentially what all releases are made up and allows a consistent degree of comparison and is then supposedly allowing us to see what difference there might be from either the Terroir or the barley strains used..
Now i am sorry if you are expecting me to go on a rant here but i am not, i have said my piece and thats enough, what i will say is that from my understanding, all the farms are receiving a slightly different manufacturing process, as in fermentation times, distillation run times etc.
I like that idea, each farm is treated individually and allowed to show its strengths, and possible weaknesses. What it also shows us is that the production team are trying to understand better what they are working with, this shows passion, pride and that is what is more important.. Its not about what the sales pitches are but rather the people that make the product, the stories they tell and the blood and sweat that goes into making something they can be proud of.
Waterford Single Farm Origin – Sheestown 1.1
Casks.. 35% first-fill American oak, 21% virgin American oak, 25% French oak and 19% fortified wine casks.
Nose.. Plenty of malty notes with digestive biscuit and crushed barley husky prominent, honey drizzled over poached pear and freshly peeled apples.. A subtle hint of dried grass and toffee notes slowly appear.
Palate.. Spices greet instantly with some ginger heat, cinnamon and citrus bitterness leads into that honey note and soft fruits.. There is a strong youthful element which is to be expected along with those malty notes.
Finish.. Spices and spirit
Thoughts.. There is a certain strange element that i keep finding within the Waterford releases i have tried, it differs in strength with each release but it is certainly there again. That said this release certainly offers a different proposition to the others, it is hard to say where i think it sits compared to the others but i will once again reiterate this liquid does show promise, it will one day be very good whisky and when they get some age behind this whiskey, i am sure those who doubt the quality of the spirit might just be happier to accept it.
I am in no way saying this isnt good at the moment but it will still split opinions, it is youthful and there are some out there who will rip it apart for that very reason. What i presume they are doing by releasing this whisky is offering us a glimpse of what will be rather than what is, this whiskey will be interesting to many but like they have often said it will not be for everyone. Which side of the fence will you be sitting on i wonder…