Penderyn’s Madeira Single Malt whisky has been available in South Africa for just over a year now, and is selling well according to Penderyn’s very own distiller, Gillian Macdonald. I met Gillian at last year’s FNB Live Whisky Festival and it was great seeing and catching up with her again at this year’s festival.
In amongst sampling the Madeira again, enjoying Welsh cakes and totally mangling the Welsh language I was fortunate enough to receive samples of two Penderyn whiskies that are not available in South Africa – the Penderyn Peated and the Penderyn Sherrywood. After fending off attempts by my friends to steal the samples away from me, I am happy to finally sit down and compare these two Welsh whiskies and share my impressions.
Tasting the Peated expression first, I immediately picked up on the typical Penderyn tropical fruit profile, overlaid with smoke. I almost equate the taste to charred citrus peels – slightly bitter, no unpleasant though. While the smoke is there, it’s not quite as integrated as you would find in an Islay peated whisky.
Next up was our second contender, the Sherrywood expression. First off, the nose. A very enjoyable assault on your olfactory glands by a host of fruits (with Penderyn’s citrus notes making their appearance) and a caramel sweetness too. This carries through onto the palate, lovely and smooth with no need to add water to the dram. The finish lingers longer than the Peated expression, departing with a sweet, mellow tail.
Decision time. If I had to spring for a bottle, which would I go for? While I’m a big fan of peated whiskies, the Penderyn Peated just didn’t quite do it for me. That makes the Penderyn Sherrywood my clear winner, and a dram that I’ll add to my collection when it eventually becomes available in South Africa.
Sincere thanks to Gillian from Penderyn for the samples. (No matter where the whiskies tasted are sourced from you can rest assured that my reviews remain independent.)