WATERFORD 1ST CUVEE “PILGRIMAGE” 50%
Bomb Barley or the skyrocketing organic trend
Much has been said about Waterford. The hype is still on, as their new release (the Lómhar micro-cuvee) has already reached some ridiculous after-market prices. However, I think that it’s important to mention all the work done to produce Waterford’s whiskies. Their transparency and their crystal clear informations about every aspect of their production methods should be inspiring for many spirits producers.
About this Waterford 1st Cuvee now. This bottle was meant to be the symbol of the distillery’s launch day. The “Pilgrimage” was scheduled for April, this year. As you obviously know (and if you don’t, you’ve probably lived the last ten months into a cavern), the Covid-19 has cancelled every event. So I received this bottle at home, instead of going to the south of Ireland and smelling the authentic barley scents that are kept into my beautiful carafe. Well, I can’t complain as it’s a limited edition (1500 bottles), but I can’t stop thinking about the wonderful moment it could have been.
Anyway, now it’s time to taste this 3yo Irish organic whisky (without the “e”) ! (you’ll find every technical aspect you want to know about this one here)
Colour : Gold, green lights. Irregular heavy tears.
Nose : Delicate round and fruity notes at first. Fresh butter, banana cake. A great freshness too : freshly cut parsley and basil. A dash of white pepper. Acacia honey. It goes on bakery/pastry scents. Sesame bread. Almond paste. Fresh bread dough. Some yeast smells. A tad spicy with cardamom, nutmeg and a bit of a vanilla stick. Then it gets hints of roasted coffee notes. Combined to the global roundness of this nose, it reminds a bit the smell of a light stout.
Palate : Sweet texture. Still the roundness previously perceived. A full spoon of honey to welcome you aboard this barley spaceship. Then the bakery/pastry notes are back. Bread crust, pain au chocolat. Salted butter too. A very little touch of iodine, something like seaweeds. More pastry aromas. Marzipan. Melted butter. Almond pie. The texture is quite oily and still very rich as it gets more air. Hazelnut cream, roasted almonds. Cherry/chocolate sweets. That’s nice ! A little bitterness/dryness aftertaste on walnut oil.
Last Notes : Still on bread dough at first. Caramelized nuts. A rich roundness counterbalanced by some freshness on Sichuan pepper, peppermint and slight smells of earl grey tea. This cereal and freshness mix remembers me the Domaine des Hautes Glaces style and another one, you know, a famous one located on Islay. Bruih..Bruichrad…Brucklad…Arf ! My weak memory…(more seriously : there is undoubtedly Mark Reynier’s influence on this Waterford 1st Cuvee. I would say that it’s more obvious with this one than with the others from Waterford standard range). Just my point of view by the way. The nose gets fruitier, especially on cooked red fruits. Roasted coffee and slight ristretto scents. A dash of violet syrup too.
Back on the palate now. The mouth is rather long. Very buttery. It goes on almond milk and dried fruits (figs and plums). A kind of muesli palate. Roasted almonds. Still very honeyed. Salted butter. Hazelnut cream. Hints of cardamom and vanilla. It ends with a little of herbal/vegetal fresh notes like parsley and freshly cut grass.
This Waterford 1st Cuvee is truly a great one. Only 3 yo but many things to tell yet. An ode to barley and organic production. Maybe a distant cousin of some Eraville’s cognacs (that I will review sooner or later).
My very subjective note : 88/100
This Waterford 1st Cuvee is the first whisky on Hors d’Age. From now on, you’ll find here a new cognalternative every Tueday.