waterford cuvee koffi review

Waterford Cuvée Koffi (2023)

Waterford Distillery recently announced their new flagship single malt. The new Waterford Cuvée Koffi is the successor of the previous Cuvée – and the Irish distillery’s oldest whisky so far.

You’re likely familiar with Waterford’s approach and philosophy by now. The distillery puts a heavy emphasis on terroir, collaborating with dozens of Irish farmers over the years. The harvested barley from each farm is distilled and matured separately. Initially, Single Farm Origins were released to compare and contrast. Now the distillery has progressed into vattings, or Cuvées, combining the production of several farms into one single release.

waterford cuvee koffi stylized

This always was the ultimate aim, as Mark Reynier explained many years ago on this website. “[We want] to assemble them so you have layer upon layer of complexity. Because each [farm] has its own mapping of flavour compounds, and many will be shared, but there will be extra ones too. With layering it like this, the aim is to make the most profound single malt whisky that’s ever seen.”

The new Waterford Cuvée Koffi is an assemblage of 24 Irish farms, spread out across counties Carlow, Kildare, Kilkenny, Wicklow, Laois, Wexford and Offaly. The whisky matured in Waterford’s standard choice of casks, first-fill (35%) and virgin American oak (20%), premium French oak (25%) and Vin Doux Naturel (20%) casks. Each of the components is at least 6 years old.

waterford cuvee koffi review bottle

Waterford Cuvée Koffi (50%, OB, 2023)

Nose: Bright notes of red apple, earthy touches of rye bread and plenty of straw and hay. There’s a whisper of dried tea leaves as well, with just a tinge of jammy apricots, orange gelato and floral notes. Finally whiffs of charred oak, a peppery tinge and tobacco leaves as well.
Taste: Rich, almost oily texture and an initial hit of white pepper, but also caramel-glazed red apple, oaties and this delicious honeyed element. Also a good amount of bready notes, whispers of barley husks and some fennel. The lightest bit of wormwood too, but nothing too overwhelming. There’s a good balance and complexity.
Finish: Medium to long. Gentle spices. Honey. Fruity sweetness.

The oldest Waterford or not, this Cuvée Koffi is undeniably complex regardless of age. It also has a recognisable signature, which isn't a given for many distilleries. Mouthfeel, barley influence and a clever maturation regime all contribute.

Sample provided by Waterford

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