I was going to express my surprise about not having reviewed any of the peated Waterfords yet. But then I remembered: peated whisky is not exactly my style. Lightly peated though? Sign me up. Which brings me to the Waterford Cuvée Argot, the distillery’s first multi-farm release to include peated whisky.
Now, I’ve tried both the Ballybannon (47ppm) and Fenniscourt (38ppm). And I’ve tasted some peated spirit in Waterford’s warehouses. Haven’t written about it, but they certainly were quality drinks. Just not my preferred style.
What is my preferred style? Benromach. I love Benromach. And Springbank. Not very original, I know. Or Ardmore! A little more original. And Bowmore is just wonderful too. Now, what do all these have in common? They’re all mildly peated. These are malts that leave room for something other than overwhelming smoke.
And that’s what I hope the Waterford Cuvée Argot can deliver too. I’m not entirely sure of the ratio between peated and unpeated spirit. The entire list of casks makes mention of just 4 casks of Ballybannon and Fenniscourt. Otherwise they don’t distinguish between peated and unpeated.
But indeed, maybe just a fraction of the dozens of casks that make up the Waterford Cuvée Argot is peated. Which is absolutely fine by me.
Finally, the youngest whisky in the Waterford Cuvée Argot is just 3 years, 1 month and 8 days old. But most of the casks were filled in either 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Waterford Cuvée Argot (47%, OB, 2023)
Nose: There’s an immediate maltiness that’s just textbook Waterford. The barley is doing all the the talking initially, before notes of pears, wet embers, grass, petrichor and caramel-glazed apple. Gentle, almost candied floral in the end. Rather delicious. Taste: Mouthfeel is decent, but the lower abv seems slightly noticeable. Just a sliver of smoke comes through, but the barley-forward nature of Waterford is very much alive. Bread-y, cereals and saltines. There’s also a pinch of white pepper, some green banana and cloves. Finish: Medium in length. Soft wood smoke, drying, and gentle spices.
The Cuvée Argot feels like a new frontier for Waterford. Peat in moderation, just the way I like it. It adds just another layer of complexity to play around with. Not like Waterford's spirit needed it...