Besides being located in Wales, Penderyn’s claim to fame is first and foremost their unique set of stills, designed by David Faraday. I think they explain it best, so allow me to quote from the Penderyn website:
“Each morning our unique copper-pot still is charged with our own malted barley wash. As the steam heats the liquid it starts to bubble and the vapour rises into a copper column above the still. The column has a number of perforated plates and the vapour condenses on the first plate before returning to the still.
“As the process continues, the vapour reaches the second plate… and so on, before evaporating and falling back to the still; each step leaving the spirit smoother, softer and more refined than before. Eventually the spirit is drawn from the seventh plate on the second column and piped into our glass spirit safe (see pic above) where it lands, literally drop by drop, over the course of the day.”
The use of a column, comparable to Loch Lomond’s straight-necked pot stills, means the spirit comes of the still at a much higher strength. Loch Lomond’s Inchmurrin spirit sits at 85 percent abv, for example. However, Penderyn really pushes the envelope, as its new make spirit is 92 percent abv. I’ll let you decide whether or not that is a good thing.
Furthermore, since 2014 Penderyn also features two traditional copper pot stills, like you’ll find in distilleries all over Scotland. And that’s what brings us to today’s whisky, the Penderyn Rich Oak, which was released late last year. I’ve no idea in which of their stills it was distilled, or if it maybe is a combination of their several spirit styles.
There have been several iterations of the Penderyn Rich Oak over the years, such as a limited edition bottled at 50 percent, as well as a single cask. This new release of the Penderyn Rich Oak is a new permanent addition to the distillery’s Gold Range, and bottled at a respectable 46 percent. It is finished in European ex-wine casks.
Penderyn Rich Oak (46%, 2018)
Nose: Big on the vanilla (it’s a bomb), caramel and fudge, with hints of freshly cut grass, some drops of mango juice. Very modern and very much wood driven.
Taste: Fairly fruity. The mango certainly makes an encore, as does the fudge. There’s room for some cloves and nutmeg too. Also, there’s no escaping the vanilla, although the balance is better than it is on the nose.
Finish: Lingering vanilla custard. Short to medium.
Decently engineered. I assume it’s a young whisky since it has nog age statement, and in what little time the wood has had, it has certainly left an impression. I can (sort of) admire the amount of flavour that was infused in a short time, yet it’s a shame that I can’t really get beyond the overt wood flavours (vanilla, I’m looking at you).
Photo: The Whisky Exchange
Hi Thijs, we have been distilling since 2000 and so some of our casks are 19 years old now. We are committed to non-age statement whiskies as we believe that when the whisky is ready, it’s ready. Having a spirit at 92% means that the whisky works quicker with the wood than less alcaholic spirits, and so we can achieve in 5-8 years what other distilleries can take over 10 to achieve. Thanks for your review.
Hi John, thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment. Could you maybe clear up one more thing for me? Do you know whether the spirit for the rich oak was distilled in the Faraday or the pot stills, or both? Thanks so much!