Waterford Dunbell Edition 1.1...

Waterford Dunbell Edition 1.1 (50.0%): Mark Reynier deserves our respect for more than a couple reasons: First and foremost for starting a distillery from scratch with all the money he walked away with from the Bruichladdich - Remy Cointreau deal instead of spending it on yachts, real estate and expensive cars. Then for stubbornly continuing to do things his way even though it isn't necessarily the most profitable or financially viable approach: Highlighting "terroir" in distilled spirits (I know... A touchy topic which I already wrote earlier about), offering complete transparency to customers in every step of the production process, 100% believing in organic and bio-dynamic farming and supporting farmers unconditionally. For coming up with a highly innovative new brand right when you think that there is no room left for creativity in this oversaturated industry. And lastly for creating a brilliant long-term business plan with bottle codes allowing enthusiasts to follow (and to get obsessed with) every little detail of every single batch release online for years to come which I am sure will brilliantly create a group of die-hard collectors fighting to get their hands on every single release like they are collecting "Magic: The Gathering" cards. How genius is that..? 

This week I received four unique samples from Waterford Distillery... All four of them are from their current US releases and they all differ in terms of their barley type, farms which supplied the barley, date of distillation, type of casks they used for maturation, where those casks are sourced from and exact age of the spirit when bottled. Entering the "téireoir code" on the packaging on their website gives you access to all these details and much more... Please take some time to visit Waterford Distillery's website. It is truly jaw dropping. Actually why don't you do it right now..? There is so much information about every single bottling on the site I couldn't possibly scratch the surface of now even if I wanted to in a short blog post like this. So, the very first bottle I will uncork (Can you still say "uncork" if the bottles have these fancy glass stoppers..? Anyway...) and pour is "Dunbell Edition 1.1" and here is its dedicated "page". Click on "page" and see with your own eyes what the website can offer. You can simply have access to same amount of information about every release just by entering the "téireoir code" on the bottles which was F022E01-01 in this case. Isn't it unbelievable? 

If I have to summarize quickly what we are looking at here: It is an almost 3 years 9 months old "single farm" whisky distilled in September 2016 and matured in a combination of 1st fill ex-Bourbon, new American oak, ex-red wine French oak and ex-sweet wine French oak casks. The batch yielded 6,000 bottles in total after being bottled exclusively for US market at 50% abv.

Color: Sweet white wine, yellow gold color with a ring of teardrops turning slowly into thick and oily legs.

Nose: That's the smell that hits you when you walk into the still room of a distillery during your tour.... Sweet, fruity and incredibly fresh. New make, unripe Concorde pears and green bananas. Allowing it to air dials down the new make on the nose to a minimum. Lightly brewed green tea, pencil eraser and oatmeal. A few drops of water helps the nose evolve. It's spicier and herbal now: Lemongrass, cilantro and caraway seeds. Tarragon, fines herbes mix and dried strawberries. Green wood and green foliage.

Palate: Very grain forward first: Green malt, steel cut oats and white pepper. Lightly toasted oak staves, party balloons and fresh ginger. It is a very young whisky without a doubt... After adding water: Sea salt, dried fish and seaweed. Water adds such a nice texture though... It's very creamy and thick now. Apple peel, cinnamon and more ginger. Green tea and lemongrass.

Finish: Long mostly with young alcohol burn but it changes drastically for better after adding some water: Ground coriander, white pepper and lemongrass.

Overall: The whisky is 3 years 9 months to start with... So, it is incredibly young and obviously not ready for prime time but it really surprised me by carrying a lot more details both on the nose and on the palate than I could ever expect from its age. I really liked the lemongrass and green tea notes... It has some qualities which can easily be associated with US craft spirits mostly because of its young age and the usage of high percentage of new oak casks but I think and I hope that we will be seeing less and less of these casks in future releases. It is kinda amazing that we will have the chance to watch very closely how each of their whiskies will evolve in years with every edition and that makes me quite excited. There I said it... Wasn't it the whole point behind all these edition numbers? Simply to hook you up..? I am in and they win... Next one I will be tasting will be another "single farm" whisky but this time from Dunmore farm. Thanks to Glass Revolution Imports and Raj Sabharwal for sending me these sample bottles with absolutely no strings attached.

Price: $95