A simply amazing Irish Whisky. A singular blend of 25 separate expressions into a single bottling, each adding its voice to the choir. Ther is no better Irish Whisky on the market right now in my opinion.
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 to have obsessively thought out every other aspect of distillation, aging, cask wood aging, and every other possible point to produce a stunning whisky. One of the more interesting aspects; the careful selection of a variety of casks used in the aging process. This mix includes virgin American Oak, a staggering collection of some of the finest first-fill American Oak, French Chateau and Tonnelieirs, Oloroso Port casks, and the percentages used in the final blending.
A few words on the term Single Malt are probably needed here.
Single Malt as it is usually understood to be, and the numerous examples of such that make it so (such as the numerous and famous Single malt Scotch whiskies such as Lagavulin, MacCallan, Balvenie, etc., etc.,) are relatively simple blends of multiple barrels from a single distillery. Each barrel due to numerous, sometimes inscrutable factors are somewhat different from each other but are 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 but with a narrower range of flavors within this single. There are a few other terms used for a singular barrel of malt whisky, such as a singleton or single single – these denote a single barrel of (usually) Scotch whiskey. A further down the rabbit hole version is a “Barrel Pick” a single barrel that is selected by a bar, store, club what have you that has been bottled. These are different than a merchant bottling, but I digress as usual…In this case (The Cuvee”) they have taken it even further with the blending of 25 of their Single Malts to make the Cuvee Blend that is referred to as LODESTAR. Yes, I know there are a lot of Single Malt advocates out there, and it is a fascinating and delightful adventure to explore and compare each and every single malt, but a blend can certainly surpass the sum of its (Single Malt) parts in the hands of a skillful blender by teasing the best out of each one into a marriage. Especially if one can use such a broad palette of distillates from a single distillery. As all of these malts came from the same distillery, it is still considered a Single Malt, albeit one with much more range than what you would normally see with a much wider palette to choose from. Think of it as a 25 piece orchestra or choir each adding its own unique contribution to a magnificent whole. I don’t know of anyone else who has attempted such a blending of this scale within a single distillery.
This has turned out stunningly well in this expression.
Appearance: Clear, pale yellow like a very light compressor oil or a Vieux Systeme all-malt Geneverthat has been aged for a very long time. Leaves a light film on swirling, an extremely thin and even coat with extremely fine legs and tears eventually forming.
As a side note, Irish Whiskey should have some minimal color but unlike American bourbons ( which use new charred casks) it depends much less on the barrel char and wood influence – hence the lighter color)
First Impression: Dark ripe fruit, plums, pluots, or maybe a touch of figs and persimmons, spicy, fruity start, lemons, marzipan (or plastique), cocoa, molasses, slightly tannic with notes of Sobranie tobacco, oak, new leather slightly fatty, luscious. Almost a symphony movements worth of tastes and adjectives composed by a master of both instruments and composition.
Taste: Slightly oily entry, glides over and coats the tongue with a malty, cereal grain overture followed by sweet fruitiness, light toffee, and apple notes. Subtle fruit notes with malt/grain, apricot, lemon, thyme, rosemary, touch of anise/pastis leather, char, and sweetness wrapped in the harmonious and continuous development of flavors
Drinks: This is one of those few whiskies I hesitate to ever mix in order not to miss any nuance and to give it all the attention and respect it deserves. Pour it into a proper glass with perhaps just a touch of good warm water ( or not) and sit back and pay attention to it. It will express its story of an expressive and gentle madness in the quest of a singular spirit.
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 are a combination of silk screening and paper labels with a teal silver speckled background and raised silver lettering. The back label is a single piece of plastic film with 9 point lettering. Label contains a short narrative, the growers’ names, and the TÉIREOIR code which links to an exhaustive and lovingly detailed genealogy of your bottle. The stopper is a red glass stopper with a tightly rigid nylon gasket that gives a great seal without being too much of a challenge to open, and a silkscreen design that I do not know what it means. Overall a very carefully thought out and executed repository for a remarkable spirit.
Other: Waterford Distillery has a plethora of other whisky expressions and we look forward to reviewing them if/when we can get our hands on some. So far we have done the Biodynamic Luna 1.1
Final Thoughts: Easily one of the most subtle yet grand spirits we have tasted in the last year. Also, only the second spirit in almost 1,200 reviews to earn a 10 out of 10 Olives in the Overall Rating Score.
The link for the entire webpage is here: waterfordwhisky.com/single-farm-origin
The link to the Terrior (extreme detail page for this particular bottling): is here
Easily one of the most comprehensive and attractive/pretty websites we have EVER seen in the trade. Puts ALL the others to shame in terms of graphics ( Did we say pretty? Maybe stunning is a better word)
Huge amount of information is laid out for you in yet somehow easy to navigate layout. Can’t say enough how we love this site and how it is the best of thousands of websites we have seen in the trade. A singular delight to look over!
Every other web page designer should do the equivalent of what mathematicians do to honor a singular achievement by laying down their pens in front of the author ( see the movie ” A Beautiful Mind ” if you are not getting this). I could go on and on about how well laid out and delightfully presented each and every aspect is laid out. It is the Ne Plus Ultra of spirit websites!