Waterford Distillery ‘The Cuvee’ Single Malt Tasting Notes
Tasting note compiled by Mark McLaughlin (@mark_rye)
Anyone who has been following Waterford Distillery’s journey will know that they’ve set out to do something unique. In Mark Reynier’s own words, they want to produce ‘The most profound single malt whisky in the world’. Focusing on the “Téiroir” of whisky, they’ve proven already, scientifically at least, that where the barley is grown affects the nature of the distillate produced. Having initially released a plethora of Single Farm Origin releases to rather mixed views, my own being that, you can tell they’re making great spirit but I thought they were very young, and wouldn’t be rushing out to taste any of them again.
However, they’ve always been consistent in telling the naysayers that it is ‘The Cuvee’ or blends of these single farms which will showcase the true beauty of what they are doing, which in my opinion kind of defeats the purpose of all the initial noise about téiroir. Although, I visit this with an open mind. By visiting their ever impressive Téiroir code page (Code LODE*ST-AR) I found that ‘The Cuvee’ is made up of Single Malts produced from no less than 31 different farms, with 4 barley varieties used, 3 oak varietals, 4 oak styles, and a plethora of different cask seasonings, it makes for incredibly impressive reading, now what about the whisky?
If you’d like to learn more about Waterford Distillery, I suggest taking a listen to Terroir-Driven: The Waterford Whisky Podcast, narrated and designed by none other than our Stories & Sips Founder, Barry Chandler.
It’s almost golden, but I’m still going to veer to straw.
There’s no denying the youth here, it’s got quite a kick of spirit, and it’s not because of the ABV, it smells like new make spirit, with ripe fruitiness that you can’t quite nail down and green grassy tones that let you know it’s malt. In fact, it’s undeniably malt-driven, with tonnes of dry grain notes, like standing in a mill operating at full tilt with wet grain all over the floor. After a few minutes you can see a touch of depth, with hints of pear and apple skins but it’s jumping and jolting so much that I feel I can’t quite settle.
Palate & Finish
There’s a wonderful viscosity, it truly coats the mouth, immediately clinging to the tongue with tonnes of warm grain, almost look slightly undercooked porridge. The wood has its moments with toasted oak, vanilla and a peppery note that’s not unlike taking a huge mouthful of dry, undressed rocket (arugula). There’s a nice touch of marzipan that helps the palate around with enough spice that if it was a curry, I’d be worried. It has clear length that falls to just alcohol warmth after a few seconds.
There’s no denying this is interesting. Would I be rushing out to buy a bottle? Absolutely not. Would I complain if a bottle was gifted to me? Absolutely not. It’s still very very young, but they don’t seem to be hiding from that, which I have to admit, I like. There’s a whole bunch of interesting characters working for Waterford, who are quite active online, reach out and let them convince you of how good it is. I however, am still unconvinced, but and it’s a big but, I can’t wait to try the next Cuvee, and the one after that, and the one after that…
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