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Waterford Irish Single Malt Whiskey Cuvée Gaia Teireoir Code ORCVE01-01

  • Rating: 9
  • Value: 9
Type: , ,
Classification: , ,
Ingredients: ,
Distillery:
Proof: 100 (50% )
Age: 1674 DAYS OR 4 YEARS, 7 MONTHS, 15 DAYS
Price: $105.99 750 ML
Price Range:

A lovely, delicate and complex Irish Whiskey. Highly recommend as a exemplar of its type and origins.

Notes: Probably the largest collection of Irish Whiskey expressions you have never heard of, and capturing the high ground of premium, single malt, single-origin, and certainly organic and biodynamic whiskies in the world! This is one of the many expressions that Waterford Distillery makes. I have to admire the absolutely obsessive, possibly pathologically OCD in a charming way, that this group goes about making whisky. Using biodynamic techniques with heirloom barley varieties they seem they seem to have obsessively thought out every other aspect of distillation, aging, cask wood aging, and every other possible point to produce a stunning whisky. In this case they use 6 different varieties of organic barley, each one distilled separately to gain maximum distinctiveness when they go to the blend. One of the other more interesting aspects is the careful selection of a variety of casks used in the aging process, a mix of virgin American Oak, used once American Oak Bourbon barrels, French Oak, and other casks, and the percentages used in the final blending.  This particular expression from Waterford may take a little explanation for those not entirely familiar with geeky whisky terminology. Single Malt as it is usually understood to be, and the numerous examples of such that make it so. The numerous and famous Single malt Scotch whiskies such as Lagavulin, Macallan, Balvenie, etc., etc. are relatively simple blends of multiple barrels from a single distillery. Each barrel, due to numerous, sometimes inscrutable factors, is somewhat different from each other but is at least somewhat homogenous to a certain degree – in that they are pretty much the same type of barrel stock, usually from the same sources and other factors limiting the spread of differences to a manageable and reproducible range. This is so they can reliably produce a single malt that is technically a blend of barrels but tastes the same to a great degree. This is the industry standard, but it is usually ( try almost always) a very closely guarded secret as to the makeup of the blend. This is not the case with Waterford Distillery, which is easily the most transparent and informative distillery in the entire whiskey industry.
Why, may you ask, is this important?

It allows an unparalleled window into the craft of whiskey making and all the subtle variations and possibilities that lead to the ultimate synthesis of a whiskey. Every variable and decision, from the origin of the grain to the multitude of steps involved in the cultivation, milling preparation, fermentation, distillation, and aging of a whiskey, are detailed and give an unparalleled behind-the-scenes account of how a whiskey comes to be.

Now, on to the review of this very particular Single Malt.

It is interesting that the cooperage is 28 % “Virgin” US Oak Casks – “Virgin” is a somewhat misleading cooperage/barrel terminology – It means the Waterford whiskey was the  SECOND filling after the barrel was used once to age a bourbon in.  In this case, since they are Diageo barrels, that would be Bulliet, Blade and Bow, or possibly a no name stock bourbon. Another 25 % is true virgin American Oak barrels – they are termed as “First Fill” American barrels – so they may or may not be charred. As a first fill, there is no legal requirement to do so. The other cooperage barrels are Vin Doux ( 28%) and Premium French (19%). The premium French barrels are also from Diageo but are not otherwise specified as to what fill or anything else is useful.

 

 

Appearance: Clear golden amber color, faultless in appearance. On swirling, a medium coat is observed with long, thin legs rapidly retreating into the glass.

First Impression: Fill the immediate area with malty, barley grain sweetness and cereal-like notes, Scents of Valencia orange, barley malt, and touches of allspice, nutmeg, and berries. Slightly saddle soap and waxy notes, old saddle leather, earthy loam, and minerality with touches of heather.

Taste: Delicious, oily, honeylike manuka honey, Medjool dates, buckwheat pancakes with real maple syrup, black currant cassis, barley, heather, and quince jelly. Touches of Vietnamese cinnamon, nutmeg, and the slightest touch of myrrh.Lovely barley malt notes throughout.

Drinks: Lovely on its own in a good nosing/tasting glass or the merest touch of warm water to open it up. Yes, it makes for a number of lovely Irish Whiskey cocktails, but probably best enjoyed on its own or maybe with a dash of soda water.

 Bottle: Beautiful damn bottle! A deep cobalt blue, slight inset for the label with a series of ridges toward the bottom gives it a sort of machine age or maybe deco overtones. The labels combine silk screening and paper labels with a textured feel to it with a silver ray pattern raised background and raised bronze lettering. A light blue (which matches the stopper color), “Organic, “is noted in the middle of the label. The back label is a single piece of plastic film with 9-point ( ?) lettering. The label contains a short narrative, the growers’ names, and the Teirreoir code, which links to an exhaustive and lovingly detailed genealogy of your bottle. The stopper is a light sky blue glass stopper with a tightly rigid nylon gasket that gives a great seal without being too much of a challenge to open. The top bears a silkscreen design that I do not know what it means. Overall, it is a very carefully thought-out and executed repository for a remarkable spirit.

Other: Goes nicely with a Connecticut Shadee wrapper cigar or similar. Would suggest a Davidoff or Ashton.

Final Thoughts: Overall, it is a lovely and delicate expression of a single malt Irish whiskey that really highlights its terroir and sense of place. Each Waterford expression is subtle yet uniquely different from the others and makes for a fascinating voyage of discovery.

Website: www.waterfordwhiskey.com/teireoir/cuvee-gaia-us/
As usual with this company, a magnificent DNA and genealogy of a singular malt whiskey with a plethora of information that should sate the most fanatical or jaded of malt connoisseurs of both taste and detail.

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