This year has been rather strange, however, nonetheless a one new Irish distillery has popped up despite the troubles of 2020. The Waterford distillery is a major new whisky project by the man behind the renaissance of Islay’s Bruichladdich single malt whisky. Located on the banks of the river Suir, on Ireland’s sunny south-eastern coast, Waterford have an exceptional state-of-the-art facility originally built by Diageo in 2004 and converted to distilling in 2015. They also have the finest quality raw materials: the purest of spring water from renowned ancient wells; a team of passionate distillers that share the vision; and arguably the very best barley in the world.
Waterford have placed an emphasis on barley, where and how it is cultivated, is therefore key. Taking proven principles from Islay a giant step further, they’ve sourced an unprecedented 72 Irish farms, including organic and biodynamically run, growing barley on 19 distinct soil types. With a pioneering digital logistical system keeping track, each farmer’s crop is harvested, stored, malted and distilled separately. Thus they can capture in spirit each farm’s terroir, that subtle character shaped by micro-climate and soil. Individuality and integrity from field to barrel.
The first whisky was distilled in January 2016. After maturing for several years in the best of French and American oak, Waterford believe these component “single”, single malts, each one exhibiting its own nuances, will come together making the most profound single malt whisky ever created. Today we are taking a look at their Sheestown 1.1 expression, which has been aged for 1414 days.
On the nose: you’ll experience an initial waft of pears, apples. toasted barley, vanilla and butterscotch. These initial notes are closely followed by marzipan, a hint of tropical notes, toffee and lightly salted caramel. Notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and white pepper start to appear. Completing the nose is a hint of zest, some light floral notes, elderflower and some green herbaceous notes. On the palate: there’s a lovely inviting note of toffee apple and toasted barley, followed by vanilla, marzipan and butterscotch. Notes of stem ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and a hint of cloves start to emerge, as well as white pepper. Rounding-off the palate are notes of salty caramel, lemon zest and a hint of aniseed. The finish: is long, peppery, yet sweet, with lingering nutty oak, orchard fruits and a waft of mint.
The verdict: As new distillery Waterford have made quite the impression and this will only get better as the whisky gets older. This Sheestown 1.1 expression is a rather delightful drop of liquid gold, with loads of light summery notes that have been nicely balanced with a robust palate. With an ABV of 50%, strangely enough it doesn’t require any water, however, add water until it’s right for you.
The Waterford Sheestown 1.1 Single Grain Single Malt Irish Whisky is available online or in well-stocked Whisky Shop, for approximately £80. For more information on the Sheestown 1.1 expression, visit waterfordwhisky.com.