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Waterford Distillery: A Journey of Terroir and Tradition.

Nestled within the serene landscape of Waterford, Ireland, where the river Suir gracefully flows towards the vast Atlantic Ocean, a tale of profound transformation unfolds within the historic walls of a former Guinness brewery.

At the helm of this narrative stands Mark Reynier, renowned for his stewardship at Bruichladdich Distillery on Islay and the visionary force behind Renegade Spirits. The culmination of Reynier's expertise and passion materializes in Waterford Distillery—a seamless fusion of time-honored tradition and pioneering innovation.

The journey commenced in 2014, with Reynier's acquisition of the Guinness brewery, a venerable edifice ripe for a new era of greatness. A bold statement was made by dropping the "e" from whiskey, symbolizing a departure within the realm of Irish spirits. The inaugural whispers of this innovative elixir emanated from the stills in January 2016, heralding the dawn of a venture dedicated to unraveling the enigmatic concept of terroir in whiskey craftsmanship.

Inspired by his tenure at Bruichladdich, Reynier's reverence for organic barley infuses the essence of Waterford whiskey, where each precious drop pays homage to the noble grain. Under the adept guidance of head distiller Ned Gahan, the age-old art of double distillation unfolds at a deliberate "low and slow" pace, yielding a million liters of liquid gold annually.

The saga of Waterford's genesis extends beyond the spirits themselves to the vessels that cradle their secrets. Pot stills, originally destined for Islay's Port Charlotte Distillery, found new purpose and sanctuary within Waterford—a narrative echoing the resilience and adaptability inherent in each bottle.

Peering into the soul of Waterford whiskey unveils a profound commitment to terroir. With over 50 farms boasting 19 distinct soil types, and a meticulous approach to batch separation, the brand's dedication to traceability and transparency shines luminously. The spirits safe, adorned with the names of both farmer and distiller, stands as a poignant testament to their unwavering adherence to the "three T's"—terroir, traceability, and transparency.

An impressive array of 19,000 casks lies ensconced within warehouses, patiently awaiting their moment. Each bottle, distinguished by a unique code, serves as a key to a digital portal on the Waterford Distillery website, revealing the intricacies of cask selection—a heartfelt homage to Reynier's indelible legacy at Bruichladdich.

Waterford's pursuit of the purest expression of whiskey's natural flavors finds eloquent articulation in their philosophy. Drawing inspiration from vintners across the globe, they navigate through a tapestry of releases, from Single Farm Origins to Cuvées and Arcadian Barley editions. As the preeminent producer of organic and biodynamic whiskies worldwide, Waterford boldly pushes the boundaries of flavor exploration and innovation.

At the core of this visionary endeavor lies the awe-inspiring Cathedral of Barley, a bespoke structure meticulously crafted to safeguard the integrity of each farm's harvest. The Facilitator, a marvel of modern technology, seamlessly integrates state-of-the-art equipment with age-old wisdom, birthing whiskies of unparalleled distinction and refinement.

Terroir, oft whispered as a closely guarded secret, emerges as Waterford's guiding beacon. The intricate interplay of soil, microclimate, and site shape barley growth, imbuing each dram with nuanced flavors that reflect not just the spirit within, but the very essence of the land itself. In the sanctified precincts of Waterford Distillery, tradition and innovation converge, and with each sip, aficionados embark on a journey through time and terroir—a testament to the enduring magic of whiskey.

Waterford Distillery's Peated: Lacken and Peated: Woodbrook - Irish Whiskies That Push the Boundaries of Tradition

Waterford Distillery recently introduced two groundbreaking additions to its lineup: Peated: Lacken and Peated: Woodbrook. These releases mark a significant milestone in the realm of Irish whiskey, boasting a level of peatiness never before seen in the country's distillation history.

Harnessing the time-honored techniques of whiskey production, Waterford Distillery combines Irish peat with locally sourced barley to create a symphony of flavors that pays homage to the rich heritage of Irish distillation.

As with all Waterford Distillery releases, each bottle of Peated: Lacken and Peated: Woodbrook comes with a unique "TÉIREOIR CODE," providing insight into the whiskey's journey from barley to bottle. From the harvesting of barley to its malt, distillation, and maturation, every step of the process is meticulously documented, ensuring transparency and authenticity.

With Peated: Lacken and Peated: Woodbrook, Mark Reynier has elevated the peat levels to unprecedented heights, showcasing the distinctive terroir flavors that define Waterford’s Single Farm Origins.

Peated: Lacken

Colour-wise, this elixir resembles the hue of virgin olive oil, with tears that gracefully match its complexion.

Upon nosing, one is greeted by a vibrant burst of fresh smoke, reminiscent of a coastal breeze wafting through an orchard. Delicate hints of orchard fruits dance in the background, adding depth to the aromatic profile.

The palate is treated to a full-bodied and oily texture, coating the senses with a luxurious mouthfeel. Notes of driftwood and campfire emerge, evoking images of a serene evening by the shore. Intertwined with these smoky elements is the subtle sweetness of white peach, balancing the robust flavors with a touch of fruitiness.

The finish is a symphony of flavors, with complex layers unfolding gradually. Rich cigar tobaccos mingle with hints of green tea, creating a harmonious blend of earthy and herbal notes. The lingering presence of tar adds a touch of depth to the finish, leaving a lasting impression on the palate.

Peated: Woodbrook

Pale straw in appearance, lingering delicate oils adorn gracefully the glass.

The aromas of Peated: Woodbrook beckon tickle the nostrils with an inviting allure. Lemon skins and beeswax intertwine with the freshness of meadow flowers, creating a captivating olfactory experience that transports the senses to a sunlit countryside.

On the top of the mouth, a harmonious medley of flavors unfolds each layer with finesse. Dry spices dance on the tongue, accompanied by the subtle sweetness of shortbread biscuit. The zesty tang of preserved lemons adds a vibrant dimension to the ensemble, while echoes of beach campfire ashes evoke memories of seaside evenings spent in contemplation.

The journey culminates in a long and satisfying finish, where comforting bonfire tones linger on the palate like a fond memory. Each sip leaves a lasting impression, inviting further exploration of Peated: Woodbrook's intricate flavor profile.

With Peated: Lacken and Peated: Woodbrook, Waterford Distillery invites peat enthusiasts to embark on a journey of discovery, celebrating the unique flavors and traditions of Irish whiskey-making by infusing it with a good portion of je-ne-sais-quoi. These groundbreaking releases showcase the harmonious marriage of tradition and innovation, setting a new standard for not merely Irish, but peated whiskey at large.


Words by AW.

Photos courtesy of Waterford Distillery.


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